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Stalemate Continues: Kosovo Rejects EU Compromise in Belgrade-Pristina Talks

The latest round of talks aimed at normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo ended without a breakthrough on Thursday (September 14). Pristina rejected a compromise proposal from the EU, which it claimed favored Belgrade’s stance.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, expressed disappointment, saying, “We made significant efforts, but regrettably, we were unable to bridge the gaps today,” following the talks in Brussels.

This meeting between Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti marked their first face-to-face encounter within the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue process since clashes erupted in North Kosovo, which has a significant Serb minority, in late May.

The previous talks in June only involved separate discussions with Borrell and the EU’s Special Representative Miroslav Lajčák, yielding no concrete results.

In Thursday’s meeting, the two leaders once again failed to agree on advancing the implementation of the EU-brokered Ohrid Agreement, which seeks to normalize relations between Serbia and Kosovo. Kosovo insists that Serbia must take the initial steps by officially recognizing its independence, including mutual recognition of documents. However, Belgrade wants progress on a deal to create an association of ten Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo.

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Borrell explained that the EU proposed a compromise involving parallel progress, which was accepted by Vučić but rejected by Kurti.

Kurti accused EU mediators of bias, asserting that the EU had adopted Serbia’s position. He emphasized the need to overcome the conditionality imposed by Serbia.

Vučić stated that Serbia accepted the EU’s compromise proposal, but Kurti did not, leading to the meeting’s conclusion. He argued that Kurti was avoiding the formation of the Association of Serbian-majority municipalities, which he viewed as the crux of the matter.

The EU side expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of progress six months after the Ohrid Agreement. Borrell criticized both Kosovo and Serbia for not fulfilling their dialogue obligations, warning that their inaction could affect their aspirations for EU accession. Serbia gained EU candidate status in 2012 and began accession talks in 2014, while Kosovo is not yet an official candidate.

Borrell also noted that there was no progress on resolving the dispute over elections in northern Kosovo, which had triggered unrest in May. He urged Pristina to hold new elections in northern Kosovo immediately.

In May, violence erupted when ethnic Albanian mayors were installed following contentious polls in which local Serbs refused to participate, leading to clashes between Serb protesters and NATO peacekeepers.

Borrell criticized Kosovo’s efforts to de-escalate tensions, stating that they fell short of international requests, including the EU’s call to withdraw special police from institutional buildings and prepare for new elections.

John Collins
John Collins
John is an esteemed journalist and author renowned for their incisive reporting and deep insights into global affairs. As a prominent contributor to City Telegraph, John brings over 5 years of experience covering diverse geopolitical landscapes, from the corridors of power in major capitals to the frontlines of conflict zones.

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