Kosovo and Serbia agree to unblock the process of normalization of bilateral relations

Josep Borrell – Johannes Frandsen/European Counc / Dpa

The top officials of Serbia and Kosovo have reached an agreement on Saturday for the normalization of bilateral relations after a marathon twelve-hour meeting mediated by the EU.

»I can announce that Kosovo and Serbia have agreed on the implementation of the annex to the agreement for the process of normalization of relations between them, between Kosovo and Serbia,» announced the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell.

Borrell recalled that both Kosovo and Serbia have EU membership as a strategic goal and for that »Serbia and Kosovo need to normalize their relations». »This agreement is an important step to make it a reality. We will continue to work tirelessly until we reach a comprehensive agreement for the normalization of their relations,» Borrell stressed.

The head of EU diplomacy has stressed that it has been a »prolonged and difficult» dialogue, but »in good faith» that has concluded with a commitment by Kosovo to implement »immediately» Article 7 of the agreement for the implementation of a mechanism of self-government for the Serbian population of Kosovo. »And when I say immediately, I mean immediately,» Borrell stressed.

Pristina is also committed to implement the declaration on missing persons with »urgency». »I have to admit that from the beginning we raised this issue as a non-negotiable point,» said Borrell, who stressed that »several creative proposals have been put forward, both on the signature and on the substance» of the agreement.

»It is clear that both sides will derive important benefits from this agreement because the dialogue is not only about Kosovo and Serbia,» but about »stability,» he argued. »In the current geopolitical context it is an important tool for maintaining peace and stability in the Western Balkan region,» he reiterated.

Borrell met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Ohrid, North Macedonia.

VUCIC HAS NOT SIGNED ANYTHING NEW Vucic, despite the agreement, stressed that nothing new has been signed and emphasized the formation of political institutions for the representation of the Serb minority in northern Kosovo.

»I have to say that I am very satisfied with this. Missing persons, donor conferences have been discussed. The plan has to be expanded,» he said.

Vucic also revealed that the European Council will be in charge of assessing the progress on the implementation of the agreement and stressed the »constructive atmosphere» of the negotiations. However, he pointed out that it will be on Monday when he will explain the details of the agreement reached to his fellow countrymen.

As of Monday I will receive the representatives of the parliamentary groups. We have serious work ahead of us, for the next few months,» he said in statements reported by the Serbian media.

Belgrade and Pristina have been negotiating for decades in Brussels with poor results and a poor record of implementation of the agreements already reached, weighed down by the conflicts arising from the violent secession of Kosovo from Serbia in the late 1990s.