Serbia and Kosovo reach landmark agreements on four key issues

By bne IntelliNews August 26, 2015

bne IntelliNews -

 

Serbia and Kosovo have reached agreements on four key issues that “represent landmark achievements in the normalisation process,” the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on August 25. The prime minister of Serbia subsequently claimed that there are now no more obstacles for starting accession talks with the EU.

The prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Isa Mustafa, marked a turning point in taking forward the dialogue agenda as they agreed on the general principles and the main elements of the community of Serb majority municipalities that exist in Kosovo, which paves the way for its establishment, Mogherini, a facilitator in the talks, said in a statement.

They also agreed on further implementation of the energy agreement and the Action Plan for Telecoms, which will facilitate the telecommunications system and operations in Kosovo.

The arrangement for the Mitrovica bridge, which will define the use of the bridge in a mutually acceptable way, was also agreed.

“Solutions such as those found today bring concrete benefits to the people and at the same time enable the two sides to advance on their European path,” Mogherini said.

He added that work on further steps of the dialogue will continue in the coming months.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Vucic confirmed that on August 25 four agreements were signed between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels. He told broadcaster RTS that now there are no more obstacles for starting accession talks with the EU.

According to the agreements, Serbian telecom provider Telekom Srbija will get an operating licence in Kosovo, while state-owned power distribution company Elektrodistribucija Srbije may form a unit that will operate there.

Vucic also announced his intention to visit Kosovo in September.

Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga welcomed the signing of the four agreements, stressing that this was an important moment for the normalisation of relations between the two countries, the president’s office said.

The talks are part of the Brussels Agreement, an EU-brokered deal agreed in April 2013 aimed at normalising relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Progress since then has been relatively slow, despite a strong incentive in the form of progress towards EU accession.

In 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia, which regards it as a renegade province. A number of issues remained unresolved following the cessation.

Serbia became an official EU candidate in 2011, but its advancement toward EU membership is conditioned on progress in relation to Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

Kosovo is a potential candidate for EU membership. The European Commission adopted the proposal for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Kosovo on April 30, which is expected to come into effect in 2016.

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