Monday

17th Jun 2019

Kosovo still opposed to EU police mission, PM says

Pristina is still opposed to the compromise deal between Serbia, the European Union and the United Nations on the deployment of EULEX, the EU's police and justice mission in Kosovo, and its stance will not change, Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, said on Sunday (16 November).

"Kosovo will not change its position. It is the points of this plan that need to change. We have a state position and we will defend that position until the end," Mr Thaci was reported as saying by Serbian news portal B92.net.

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  • Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on 17 February this year (Photo: European Parliament)

The European law-enforcement team of some 2,000 police, judicial and customs officials was to be deployed throughout Kosovo by the end of this year, but it has already been delayed several times due in part to Serbian opposition.

Serbia rejects Kosovo's independence, proclaimed earlier this year, and feared that the deployment of EULEX as initially planned would carry effective recognition of Kosovo as a sovereign state.

Under pressure from Belgrade, the UN presented a revised six-point plan to Kosovo leaders last week, under which EULEX would be neutral regarding Kosovo's status and would be run by the UN and not the EU in the Serb-dominated parts of Kosovo.

Pristina considers that the revised proposal clashes with its interests, however.

"This is a deal between the UN and Belgrade, while Pristina has not been consulted at all," Mr Thaci said. "I stress that the time when the decisions on Kosovo were made without Kosovo is over."

Some 15 Kosovar civic and non-governmental organisations have planned a demonstration against the six-point compromise plan, which will take place on Wednesday in Pristina.

Friday's blast not linked to EULEX issue

The Kosovar premier's comments came a day after a blast rattled the office of EU envoy Pieter Feith in Kosovo.

An explosive charge was thrown at a building hosting the International Civilian Office in Pristina on Friday, damaging its windows and cars stationed nearby, but without injuring anyone, Reuters reports.

The French EU presidency quickly condemned the action and "reaffirm(ed) the determination of the European Union to work toward establishing the rule of law in Kosovo for the benefit of its entire population, through the European police and justice mission."

Although the blast occurred in the context of Pristina rejecting the amended UN plan on EULEX deployment and of a growing discontent with the deal, Kosovo leaders ruled out the possibility that the two things could be connected.

"Only enemies of Kosovo can link these two things," Kosovo's president, Fatmir Sejdiu, said, while Mr Thaci added: "Such an ugly crime cannot affect Kosovo's pro-European politics."

EU split on Western Balkans accession

Europe's credibility is at risk in the Western Balkans, half its member states have warned - but EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Albania and North Macedonia unlikely to start accession talks soon.

Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal

Serbia will never recognise Kosovo, Serbia's foreign minister has said, as the Western Balkans heads into a new period of turbulence.

Opinion

EU report recognises Albania's achievements

Albania currently faces a serious crisis, which it would be foolish for all actors in the international community to ignore. Yet we must ask that our partners in Europe read Federica Mogherini's report carefully and recognise accomplishments.

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