International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Serbia Accuses Kosovo of Mocking Brussels Deal




Serbia says decision of Kosovo court to suspend Brussels agreement is a threat to regional stability - while Kosovo opposition parties have hailed the decision as a partial victory.

Kosovo’s Constitutional Court has suspended implementation of a Brussels-brokered agreement to establish an Association of Serbian majority municipalities, prompting Belgrade to accuse Kosovo of mocking the international comunity.

On November 10, 2015, the court halted procedures to move forward with the Association of Serbian majority municipalities until January, until the main elements of the body have been assessed in terms of their constitutionality.

The principles of the association, agreed on August 25, are a cornerstone of the 19 April 2013 agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini at the time said the deal “marked a turning point.”

However, the proposed creation of the body, which is to oversee education, healthcare, economic development and urban planning in Serbian areas, has come under harsh criticism from opposition parties in Kosovo who have blockaded the work of parliament by releasing tear gas several times in the chamber. 

The opposition was quick to claim victory after the Constitutional Court decision and vowed not to participate constructively until the agreements with Serbia were totally scrapped.

“We are not going back to the normal [parliamentary] session until the fulfillment of our requests: withdrawal of the agreements,” the nationalist Vetevendosje [Self-determination] party told BIRN.

In a statement, the three opposition parties, Vetevendosje, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and NISMA, said that the latest decision was an attempt to distract them from their goal of seeking the complete withdrawal of the agreements.

“It is clear to us that this withdrawal aims to disable the total victory of the opposition in its cause for the total withdrawal of these agreements. We will not stop to wait for any more decisions. Instead, the opposition parties will continue their activities in an even more intense manner,” the statement read.

Serbia said the Constitutional Court decision would have a negative affect on the ongoing process of dialogue. “This is not normal behaviour,” Marko Djuric, head of Serbia’s office for Kosovo, told BIRN.

 “We weren’t informed about the initiative to send this to the court, which is not right. We are a party to this agreement,” he said.

“This is really ruining the atmosphere of dialogue and further reducing communication,” Djuric added.

Serbian Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic, called the move a “threat to regional stability,” accusing Kosovo of “mocking both the international community and the European Union.”

Kosovo's Minister for Dialogue, Edita Tahiri, said she would not comment on the court’s decision “out of respect for the independence of the institution.”

A Kosovo legal expert, Fisnik Korenica, said that it was right for the court to consider the interim suspension of the deal in the public interest and that opposition MPs should now cease obstructing the assembly.

"This is a strong reason for the opposition to return to parliament and for the assembly to return to normal functioning until the final decision."

Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson for EU's foreign policy chief Federika Mogerini, told BIRN that the EU will not comment on judicial proceedings.

“We expect the 25 August agreement to be implemented. Both parties are responsible for their part of the implementation work,” she said on Wednesday.

Kosovo’s President, Atifete Jahjaga, asked the court to assess the constitutionality of the principles agreed in Brussels in late October.

In its decision, the court argued that the suspension of the deal was necessary on the grounds of public interest.

Valerie Hopkins


Source: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/belgrade-pristina-row-over-brussels-agreement-suspension-11-11-2015




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