21st Mar 2023

No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks

  • EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell: 'There is no alternative to the dialogue' (Photo: European Union, 2022)
Listen to article

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo failed to resolve their differences, following EU-mediated efforts to ease a spike in tensions.

"Today, there is not an agreement, but we do not give up," said the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell on Thursday (18 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

Borrell said talks need to continue, noting that Europe cannot afford another armed conflict given Russia's war in Ukraine.

"This is not a moment for increasing tensions — it is time to look for solutions and to solve long outstanding issues," he said.

Borrell said both sides "agreed to continue discussions on a regular basis".

But asked if any progress had made on the most pressing issues, Borrell said no. The talks took place in Brussels between Serbia's president Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo's prime minster Albin Kurti.

Neither made any press statements after the meeting. Vučić is set to meet representatives of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo's north on Friday.

The two sides are at loggerheads over plans by Pristina to issue licence plates to the ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo's North Mitrovica.

Kosovo had agreed to postpone issuing the licence plates until 1 September.

But the Serbs refuse to recognise such plates, as well as entry/exit travel documents, amid legacy grievances from the war in the 1990s.

Vučić had already hinted that the talks would go nowhere ahead of the meeting, telling reporters that they do not agree on almost anything.

For his part, Borrell said there was still time up until to 1 September to find a solution.

Nato is also prepared to send in more troops to the north of Kosovo to keep the peace, said Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg earlier this week.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia 14 years ago and has around 50,000 ethnic Serbs concentrated in its north.

Some 100 countries recognise Kosovo, including the United States, Germany, and France. But Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania, and Greece do not.

Kosovars grow weary of EU's privatised visa regime

Most EU countries have outsourced visa-application processing for Kosovars to private companies. The results are long queues, expensive fees, loss of clarity over where personal data ends up — and often not even a visa.


Turkey's election — the Erdoğan vs Kılıçdaroğlu showdown

Turkey goes to the polls in May for both a new parliament and new president, after incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided against a post-earthquake postponement. The parliamentary outcome is easy to predict — the presidential one less so.


When geopolitics trump human rights, we are all losers

The EU must back the UN's Human Rights 75 initiative at the end of the year to rekindle the spirit of the original declaration made in 1948 — and also demand a similar recommitment from all its 27 members.

Latest News

  1. Three French MEPs to stay on EU Parliament blacklist
  2. Turkey's election — the Erdoğan vs Kılıçdaroğlu showdown
  3. When geopolitics trump human rights, we are all losers
  4. EU starts talks on 11th round of Russia sanctions
  5. EU fears Tunisia turmoil will spark migrant boat departures
  6. 'Symbolic' Putin indictment gets some EU backing
  7. 'Final warning' to act on climate change, warns IPCC
  8. 'No one is unemployable': the French social experiment

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality
  5. Promote UkraineInvitation to the National Demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine on 25.02.2023
  6. Azerbaijan Embassy9th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting and 1st Green Energy Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us