BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE: STATEMENT BY THE HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ON EXPECTATIONS FROM SERBIA AND KOSOVO*
Following the High-Level meeting of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue on 14 September in Brussels, the EU expresses its concern over the lack of implementation by the Parties of their commitments under the Agreement on the Path to Normalisation and its Implementation Annex, which both Parties agreed to earlier this year, and which are binding on them and play a role in the European path of the Parties.
The EU urges the Parties to engage constructively and in good faith. This means starting the implementation based on the EU Proposal without further delay, which also includes the obligation on both parties to fully implement all past Dialogue Agreements. The work to establish the Association / Community of Serb Majority Municipalities needs to start without any further delay or pre-condition.
The EU reminds the Parties of their responsibility to uphold the principle of confidentiality in the Dialogue, which is a key component of any politically sensitive negotiation process.
The EU remains equally concerned over the lack of progress from both Parties in de-escalating the tensions in the north of Kosovo, several months after the latest flare up of violence which left citizens, KFOR troops, law enforcement and media representatives wounded, some with severe and permanent consequences.
Despite repeated calls by the EU and other international partners, the steps taken so far remain insufficient and the security situation in the north remains tense.
In this context, moves by Kosovo – including on expropriations of land in the north of Kosovo, eviction orders, on telecommunication, and on the use of Special Police forces for community policing duties – are not in accordance with the Rule of Law and risk contributing to further increase of tensions. The continuous small-scale attacks by criminal groups and intimidation of newly recruited Kosovo Serb police cadets / the local population are unacceptable and must stop immediately. Serbia’s blocking of the Energy roadmap, as well as other attempts inconsistent with the Agreement on the path to Normalisation and its Annex, run counter to the spirit of the Dialogue process.
The requests made in the Statement on behalf of the EU of 3 June remain fully valid. The reversible measures that the EU has taken remain in place, including the suspension of high-level meetings with Kosovo. The EU stands ready to lift these measures in case of progress in fulfilling the existing requests, or assess further measures towards both parties, if needed.
The EU recalls the importance of swiftly holding early local elections in the north of Kosovo to help defuse the tensions. The quickest solution to enable the calling of the elections is necessary. We encourage Kosovo Serbs to fully engage in the electoral process and publicly state their unconditional participation.
The EU calls on all political actors, at all levels of governance, in both Kosovo and Serbia, to engage constructively in the process leading to early local elections in the north of Kosovo, avoid further escalatory steps and support progress in the EU-facilitated Dialogue.
The EU expresses full support to the efforts of High Representative Josep Borrell in his capacity as Facilitator of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, as well as to EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajčák, and reminds the Parties that the European path of both Kosovo and Serbia goes through the EU-facilitated Dialogue and through the normalisation of their relations. Both risk losing opportunities for progressing on their European paths.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.