OpEd

One year after the "agreement", Kosovo and Serbia are further from reconciliation than they were before it

A year has passed since what the EU calls the "agreement" and not a single point of it has been implemented. Both parties have killed the agreement, as well as the EU, which instead of unconditionally insisting on the parties, started with improvisations. After the "agreement" there have been more tensions than normalization between Kosovo and Serbia, mistrust between the parties has increased and a deep mistrust has been created between Kosovo and the EU facilitators that continues today. One year after the agreement, Kosovo and Serbia are further away from the normalization of relations than before it

Exactly one year ago, in Brussels, the High representative of the EU, Josep Borrell, came out with a very strange statement. After the meeting that he had organized as a facilitator between the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti and the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, Borrelli said in a statement to the media that the two leaders, "under the facilitation of the EU, agreed today that there is no longer a need to it is discussed about the EU proposal - the Agreement on the path towards the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia".

"The parties express their willingness to move towards the implementation of the agreement", he said. On the same page where this statement of the High representative was made public, the text of what the EU calls "agreement" was also published. And indeed, although with many flaws, although far from the earlier goals for a comprehensive, legally binding agreement, even this "agreement" offered a certain normalization of relations. Because he talked about the development of relations based on the equality of the parties, respect for territorial integrity, non-opposition to Kosovo's membership in any international organization and many other things.

But not even a few minutes passed and the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, began to argue with the agreement and question whether he accepted it or not. It was immediately noticed by the journalists that the Agreement had not been signed and we were curious to know when and where any ceremony would take place. But even to this day, a year after the "agreement" was reached, it has not been signed. And the EU continues to insist that it is an obligation for the parties, signed or not.

Even on March 18, there was no signing of the agreement for the Annex on the implementation of the agreement. This time too, the EU gave up its previous position that the agreement and the annex will be signed as a joint package, because without the annex the agreement would have no meaning. But this time too, as on February 27, Borrell and Lajcak came to the aid of Serbian President Vučić, and started the scenario according to which "agreements do not need to be signed". And the EU to this day insists that the unsigned agreements are legally binding. The legal obligation comes from the statement issued by the High Representative of the EU, Josep Borrell.

So, all the seriousness of this process, all the political weight of the EU, USA, Germany, France and Italy, has been reduced to one sentence of the High Representative of the EU in the statement issued after the meeting in Ohrid where it is said: "The EU welcomes the parties that agreed today on the implementation of the Agreement on the path towards the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, which is expected to become an integral and binding part of the relevant European journey of the parties".

Nothing is defined here, neither the legal weight of the agreement, nor what the "corresponding European route" means.

The content of this annex is known. But one side, the president of Serbia, Vučić, has said several times that he has not accepted all the points, neither of the agreement nor of the annex. If one party says that it has not accepted them, then the EU's position that the parties have accepted an agreement and an annex as a whole seems frivolous. Moreover, Serbia has maintained the position for a year that it will not implement all points of the agreement. And Serbia not only has not had any consequences, but has not even been publicly reprimanded for such statements. Borrelli and Lajcaku have tried to create the impression among EU member states that "it is not important what Vucic says, but what he does" and, according to them, "he is ready to implement his obligations". On the other hand, the same facilitators, who clearly do not have the same friendship and courtesy in relation to the Prime Minister of Kosovo Kurti, have created the impression that "the Kosovar side wants to sign, but does not want to implement the obligations". Thus, they also accept in the EU, the process is behaving in a vicious circle.

Perhaps historians can find something, but what the EU continues to call the "Agreement on the road to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia" seems unique, ironic and frivolous, even though it has not been signed and Serbia from the highest level some it has been stated that he has not accepted it in its entirety nor does he intend to implement it in its entirety.

A year has passed since what the EU calls the "agreement" and not a single point of it has been implemented. Both parties have killed the agreement, as well as the EU, which, instead of unconditionally insisting on the parties, started with improvisations. After the "agreement" there have been more tensions than normalization between Kosovo and Serbia, mistrust between the parties has increased and a deep mistrust has been created between Kosovo and the EU facilitators that continues today. One year after the Agreement, Kosovo and Serbia are further from normalization than before it. Since the EU said that "the agreement was reached", there have been riots in the north, there have been attacks that the EU called terrorist by Serbian paramilitary groups, there have been tensions in Kosovo's relations with the EU and the USA. And sanctions that are still in force. But there was no implementation. And not only did the parties fail to implement the agreement, but the EU did not fulfill its obligations either. Even the EU has not yet formally implemented the agreement as an integral part of Serbia's "relevant European path". At the moment when the EU did not react when Serbia opposed the initiation of Kosovo's membership procedure in the Council of Europe, and when it did not react to the letter that Serbia sent to some EU countries not to allow the initiation of the integration process Kosovo in the EU, the killing of the agreement by the EU began. The EU made it clear that it itself does not take seriously what it calls an agreement. And when the EU does not take it seriously, then this only encourages the parties to avoid the implementation of their obligations.