Kosovo-Serbia Standoff: EU-Brokered Deal Illegal?

Written by | Monday, November 2nd, 2015

The Kosovo President, Atifete Jahjaga, asked the country’s Constitutional Court to rule on the legality of an EU-brokered agreement aimed at normalizing relations with Serbia with the emphasis on the creation of an association of Serb-run municipalities designed at providing more autonomy to Kosovo’s Serb minority. The court now has 60 days to review and eventually suspend the implementation of the deal, which is due by the end of the year.

The country’s opposition is generally against the agreement objecting that it will only deepen Kosovo’s ethnic problems and increase Serbia’s influence. The deal has caused a lot of controversy this month as the opposition released tear gas in the chamber paralyzing parliamentary sessions. The agreement was facilitated by the EU two years ago to enable both Kosovo and Serbia to make further steps on their respective paths towards EU membership. Moreover, the Kosovo opposition has also rejected a border agreement with Montenegro signed in August, which it says led to a loss of territory.

Belgrade has strongly condemned President Jahjaga’s move saying that it is an “obstruction” of the deals with Pristina. Both countries were at war in 1998-1999 that ended after Serbia had withdrawn their armed forces from Kosovo following the NATO bombing. In 2008, Kosovo was unanimously declared independent from Serbia. All 11 representatives of the Serb minority boycotted the declaration. Serbia now recognizes the Kosovo’s governance of the territory but it still continues to claim it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

Since the declaration of independence, the EU has maintained a Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, which is the largest civilian mission deployed under the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defense Policy. Brussels facilitates the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo aiming to promote cooperation, improve living standards, and achieve progress on the path of the EU.

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