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The Brussels meeting ended with/without success
by Sali Berisha
The long-awaited meeting on February 27, 2023, in Brussels to sign the Franco-German Agreement, the EU's basic Agreement for relations between Kosovo and Serbia, ended with/without success or the glass half empty/full. The Agreement for which the two parties have declared acceptancy was not signed.
But, unlike other meetings at the end of this last one, there were only soft accusations between the parties. So, after the meeting, their tones were calm and composed, which was positive.
After the meeting, Prime Minister Kurti stated that both parties agreed with the document's content and that he was ready to sign the Franco-German plan, but President Vucic refused.
President Vucic stated that Prime Minister Kurti refused to discuss the Association of Municipalities with a Serbian majority in Kosovo.
The next meeting will occur in Brussels in the second half of March.
The Kosovo-Serbia agreement is significant for the relations between the two countries and our entire region. This Agreement does not provide a final solution to the problems between the two independent neighboring countries. Still, its implementation makes it a win-win agreement for the parties, which benefits Kosovo, Serbia, and the region.
For this reason, for the next meeting not to have the same result as the one on February 27, it will be necessary to work on eliminating the existing obstacles to signing this Agreement and its annex.
From the position and statements of the Serbian side, Prime Minister Kurti's refusal to discuss the Association was an obstacle to signing the Agreement on their part. And this, at first glance, passes the responsibility to the Kosovo authorities.
In my opinion, no free country can stop the creation of associations of citizens, regardless of political beliefs, religious beliefs, or racial and ethnic affiliation, with the only condition that the country's Constitution establishes them. In a free country, this right is undeniable.
The USA repeatedly expressed itself for the Association following the Constitution of Kosovo. Prishtina should commit to such an obligation.
But the truth is that Belgrade does not claim and would not accept an association within the constitutional framework of Kosova. We should have no illusions that Serbian president Aleksandër Vučič wants a supra-constitutional ethnic-nationalist association, which de facto and de jure guarantees the extension of the Serbian state in Kosovo, the extension of Serbo-Magnia in the region. Such an association that would embody the spirit of the annexationist preamble of the Serbian Constitution, which stands like the sword of Damocles over this Agreement, is unacceptable and dangerous for Kosova and the entire region. Anyone defending or supporting such an association should not forget that the barrel powder in the region is the Serbian ultra-nationalism and that the Serbian minority in Kosova enjoys greater political rights than any other minority in Europe.
In conclusion, the Agreement between Kosova and Serbia is not and cannot be held hostage by the Kosovar authorities, which must accept associations that fully respect the norms of the excellent Constitution of Kosovo drawn up by the international community, which fully guarantees freedoms and rights of the citizens of Kosova and the minorities in this country. The finalizing of the Agreement cannot happen by applying pressure based on the principle of locus minoris resistentiae to Kosova so that the latter kicks the Constitution and the decision of its Constitutional Court.
The Franco-German Agreement is on hold, and the fact that it could be held hostage by Serbia petrifies me. Belgrade not only did not accept the recognition of Kosovo in the Agreement nor the removal of the annexationist preamble from its Constitution but seeks to impose on Kosova a supra-constitutional ethnonational association of municipalities with a Serbian majority in this country, which would be a severe threat to the stability of Kosova, the region and a dangerous reward for Serbian ultra-nationalism. Therefore, Belgrade's renunciation of the demand for a supra-constitutional association in Kosova is the only way to achieve the signing and implementation of the Franco-German plan, which seems to enjoy full support from both countries as a win-win agreement and which is supported by the EU, the US, and the region.