Today the European Parliament has voted on a resolution regarding the tensions between Kosovo and Serbia. The EP condemned the attack in Banska in northern Kosovo on September 24, in which Sergeant Afrim Bunjaku was killed. The resolution considers it a terrorist attack. Serbia will be held accountable if Belgrade's direct connection to this event is proven.
Here a few major points in order of importance:
1) MEPs call on the Commission to avoid any appeasement policy towards Serbia and express concerns regarding the lack of vocal criticism by the Commission. We saw in the last months an unbalanced policy in this sense.
2) MEPs call for the Commission to freeze funds for Serbia or for the Council to adopt restrictive measure is what is fair, considered the fact that Kosovo had imposed sanctions with way less. This is the major point in this resolution.
3) MEPs regret the negative measures the Council has taken against Kosovo and calls for them to be lifted as soon as possible.
4) MEPS urge the EC and Council to resume their high-level contacts with the President and the government of Kosovo. This is a matter of priority. The relations to Kosovo’s government and presidency should be continous.
5) A Green amendment calls on the five EU Member States that do not recognise Kosovo to do so.
6) The EP requires a new, innovative and balanced approach for the Dialogue: this is ANOTHER major point of the resolution. It is high time to balance more the Dialogue and to change the approach, if someone is not committed to this process.
7) It is clearly stated that Serbian President Vucic refused to sign the Agreement on the Path to Normalisation of 18 March 2023; this is VERY important to mention, because it shows who is not willing to come to an agreement.
8) Borrel and Lajcak should advance the dialogue in a pro-active manner and report to the European Parliament no later than end of 2023 on the findings concerning the engagements, contributions and achievement of Kosovo and Serbia .
9) MEPs recall that the agreement on Visa liberalization for Kosovo is not and should not be linked to the dialogue. Macron can express his opinion, but it is simply an opinion, and not the reality of what will happen.
10) Member States who have not yet condemned the terrorist attacked, are urged to so as soon as possible. Some MS did not even condemn the attack yet and therefore, this call is urgent.
11) MEPs call on the Serbian authorities and media to refrain from hate speech against Kosovars and the dissemination of lies about etnic cleansing and pogroms in Kosovo, for which there is no evidence.
12) MEPs call for Kosovo to establish the ASM but in LINE with its country’s constitution.
13) MEPs regret that Serbia has resumed its Kosovo de-recognition campaign and calls on Serbia to refrain from attemnpts to isolate Kosovo from the international scene.
14) It is clearly stated that since July 2022, extremist organised groups, with links to members of the Serbian government, have increased tensions in the north of #Kosovo by deploying barricades and engaging in violence against the Kosovo authorities as a reaction to the car licence plates decision;
15) It is also stated that the main ethnic Serb party Srpska Lista, which has close links with President Vučić and the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), actively boycotted the elections (2023). A major point to make when discussing what happened since April.
16) It is also clearly stated that Borrel asked #Kosovo to withdraw special police forces in the North on the 1st of June 2023, to hold new elections ensuring the participation of Kosovo Serbs and to establish the Association of Serbian Municipalities. Importantly, it also asks Kosovo to have a stronger internal dialogue with civil society organizations of Northern Kosovo.
17) It is made clear that armed Serb paramilitaries carried out the terrorist attack in Kosovo and Radojcic is mentioned and his role explained. Very important to stress this and continue to raise awareness on it; there has been kind of silence the past weeks on the topic, but it is important to know the danger.
18) The attack on two young Kosovo Serbs on Orthodox Christmas Eve is also mentioned, to show that inter-ethnic attacks in Kosovo are frequent.
19) There is an explicit call for the EU to support the ongoing investigation by Kosovan authorities and the call for Serbia to fully cooperate with the investigations (it mentions explicitly also the extradition of the responsible people to Kosovo).
20) There is a very important sentence about the importance of Serbia removing its troops and military bases from the #Kosovo border. Not only for now, also for the future. Also, it is clarified that Serbia did not remove ALL its troops, just one part. - An important ask and a true step for de-escalation (if it takes place).
21) The Kosovo Police is mentioned as “first security responder in the country”. Very important point; EULEX is the second and KFOR the third. It recognizes the sovereignty of Kosovo.
22) The close relationship between Serbia, China and Russia and its influence on the whole region is made explicit and seen as worrisome. A fact that we NEED to acknowledge very urgently and to address as well, as European Union.
23) MEPs underline their concern by the destabilizing influence on the whole region by Serbian authorities led by Vucic. A point which we raised many times.
24): Conclusion: This resolution is really important for Kosovo. It states facts in a TRULY balanced way, by clarifying major challenges and problems of the Dialogue, but also underlining the unfair treatment Kosovo has received in the last months. A resolution has no legislative effect, but the Commission should read it and change approach. /BGNES