Sunday

9th Aug 2020

Kosovo leadership confronts EU authorities

  • Anti-EULEX graffiti in Pristina (Photo: jonworth.eu)

The president and prime minister of Kosovo have walked out of talks with EU representatives in the first serious bilateral rift since Kosovo declared independence last year.

The meeting in Pristina on Thursday (27 August) was designed to soothe ethnic Albanian fears over a new police co-operation agreement between the EU's police mission to Kosovo, EULEX, and Serbia's interior ministry.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The co-operation protocol will help EULEX and Serb police share information on cross-border organised crime and is a pre-condition for Serbia to obtain visa free travel to the EU in 2010.

Kosovo leaders said that EULEX' direct dealing with Serbia undermines their attempt to establish a sovereign state.

"The Kosovo leaders reiterated in the meeting their firm position against the protocol and emphasised that from today any debate and discussion on this issue is completely closed. Kosovo does not take any obligation and responsibility for issues which it has not decided in a sovereign way," the office of Kosovo president Fatmir Sejdiu said.

The statement came out after Mr Sejdiu and Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci broke off talks with EULEX chief Yves de Kermabon and the EU's civilian representative to Kosovo, Pieter Feith.

The police protocol has stoked anger in the majority ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo.

On Wednesday, the ethnic Albanian Vetevendosja ("self-determination") movement attacked EULEX vehicles in events leading to 21 arrests.

"We want the Republic of Kosovo to join the EU. But what we need are economic experts, doctors, scientists to help us develop. Not EU policemen to rule over us in a completely unaccountable way," Vetevendosja leader Albin Kurti told EUobserver.

Mr Kurti said Serbian police were involved in the killings of ethnic Albanian civilians in the 1990s: "They are criminals. They killed 12,000 people and only a dozen or so of those responsible are in prison."

Serbia's minister for Kosovo, Goran Bogdanovic, gave provocative comments to the Serbian Vecernje novosti newspaper on Thursday.

"With this document [the police protocol], the EU is confirming Serbia's integrity even on the areas that our country does not have full control over," he said.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 with the backing of the EU institutions and the US. Twenty two out of 27 EU states have recognised its sovereignty. But Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia and Romania have not.

The EU visa free deal will cut along ethnic lines in the Balkans.

The agreement is to embrace the majority Orthodox Christian countries, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. But it will exclude the majority Muslim Kosovo and Albania.

Bosnian Muslims will also be stuck with visa requirements. But most Bosnian Serbs will benefit from the EU deal because they hold Serbian passports.

EU wary of violence in Belarus election

EU states have voiced fear of violence during Belarus elections on Sunday, as president Aleksander Lukashenko seeks to maintain his third decade in power.

EU: Hong Kong election delay undermines democracy

The EU demands Hong Kong reverse decision to postpone Legislative Council elections by one year, as western powers suspend extradition treaties with the global financial hub given China's controversial national security laws.

Feature

The Hagia Sophia and the global battle of symbols

The Turkish president's decision to restart Islamic worship services in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia last Friday is not innocent. So how should we react? By doing the opposite - and make Cordoba's famous Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba a museum.

News in Brief

  1. Germany breached rights of Madeleine McCann suspect
  2. EU offers trade perks to Lebanon
  3. Germany charges ex-Audi chiefs on emissions cheating
  4. UK quarantines Belgium, as European infections climb
  5. Bulgaria's Borissov mulls resignation
  6. EU prolongs anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel
  7. Swedish economy contracted less during April to June
  8. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion

Feature

The Hagia Sophia and the global battle of symbols

The Turkish president's decision to restart Islamic worship services in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia last Friday is not innocent. So how should we react? By doing the opposite - and make Cordoba's famous Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba a museum.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. EU wary of violence in Belarus election
  2. Iraqis paid €2,000 each agree to leave Greece
  3. EU's most sustainable islands are Danish 'Sunshine Islands'
  4. Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy
  5. Rainbow flag protesters charged by Polish police
  6. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  7. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  8. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us