A New Perspective on Kosovo-Serbia Relations: Rethinking the Sequencing of Implementation Actions of Basic Agreement


Një perspektivë e re mbi marrëdhëniet Kosovë-Serbi: Rishikimi i renditjes së veprimeve zbatuese të Marrëveshjes Bazë

Prishtina, November 3, 2023 — The ongoing dispute between Kosovo and Serbia has remained a significant challenge to the security, stability, and prosperity of the Western Balkans region. In light of recent events, including the Banjska terrorist attack on September 24, 2023, which highlighted the need for a sustainable resolution, it is imperative to move forward with the effective implementation of the Agreement on the Path to Normalization of Relations between Kosovo and Serbia (APN). 

Despite initial verbal agreement in Brussels in February 2023, the Serbian President Vucic refused to sign the APN and has undermined the agreement in his public appearances, making it much more difficult and challenging to build a momentum for its implementation. In addition to this failure to agree on an action plan for implementation of APN in March of this year at Ohrid summit, further complicated the process and heightened tensions. 

The international community, including the European Union and the United States, anticipates Kosovo to take necessary steps to establish the Association/Community of Serb-majority Municipalities in Kosovo (ASM) and for Serbia to take concrete actions toward de facto recognition of Kosovo's independence. 

Mentor Vrajolli, executive director of the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS), said that “Central to recent disagreements between Kosovo and Serbia seem to revolve around the sequencing of the actions for implementation of the Agreement on the Path to Normalization of relations, and therefore KCSS proposes an alternative sequencing of actions to potentially meet the expectations of all parties involved in the normalization dialogue. This alternative perspective focuses on balanced and realistic implementation of the APN, addressing the concerns of both the international community and Kosovo.”

In this new approach, Kosovo's Government is recommended to present a draft statute for the establishment of ASM, simultaneously with Serbia formalizing the de facto recognition while EU and NATO offer clear prospects for Kosovo's membership in the EU through the candidate status and NATO through the Membership Action Plan (MAP).

According to Ramadan Ilazi, head of research at the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS), "From Kosovo's perspective, full implementation of the APN offers the most practical opportunity to advance relations with NATO and the EU."

To address the concerns of Kosovo and ensure the international community's support, a letter exchange is proposed between Kosovar leadership and US, France, and German, counterparts. This exchange should emphasize Kosovo's urgent need to attain EU candidate status, NATO membership, and integration into international organizations like INTERPOL and UNESCO.

The European Council President is recommended to organize a summit between Kosovo and the five EU member states that have not yet recognized Kosovo, with the aim of catalyzing positive changes in the current status quo. The establishment of the ASM and APN implementation by Kosovo should lead to recognition from Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain, with the support of the EU and the US.

The alternative perspective for the sequencing aim to provide a clear path for Kosovo, Serbia, the EU, and the USA to move forward towards normalization of relations and initiating negotiations for a legally binding agreement on comprehensive normalization of relations, which represents a significant step towards Kosovo's formal recognition. KCSS will publish in coming days another analysis about establishment of the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities, and the principles it needs to respect in order to be in compliance with the judgement of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo from December of 2015. 

Access the full report here: https://qkss.org/en/publikimet/a-mund-te-tejkalohet-ngecja-ne-zbatimin-e-marreveshjes-drejt-normalizimit-te-marredhenieve-mes-kosoves-dhe-serbise-permes-sekuencimit-alternativ-te-veprimeve