Deal reported on Serbian-Kosovo license-plate impasse


The great Kosovo-Serbia license plate row of 2022 may be over, according to various news sites—although this has not been confirmed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic nor by the government headed by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.In fact, a deal has apparently been denied by Serbia, at least according to various Serbian news sites, even though both Serbian television station RTS claimed that an extension on allowing ethnic Serbs to use current documents will be put in place, allowing the status quo for the next 10 months—and even though Kosovo and Albanian news sites intimated the same Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 16-Nov. 17).

Such a deal would likely bring a sigh of relief to the EU and the US, with the former expressing grave concern over the past week that the Balkans were once more slipping into chaos. But even though Vucic and Serbian government officials had complained about the hard-line stance of Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti—suggesting perhaps between the lines that a compromise could eventually be reached—a “deal” of any kind will not go down well with Vucic’s hard-line Serbian supporters or even with the majority of Serb citizens, who, according to polls, are against the eventual recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.

The nuts and bolts of the deal would see the extension plus the return of ethnic Serbs to jobs in public institutions in Kosovo, following a walkout that was supported by Vucic. This walkout included mayors of towns in North Kosovo, and what this means for snap elections to replace them is currently anyone’s guess.

Yet such a deal is believable, as a continued stalemate could potentially resort to violence and scupper not only Serbia’s EU accession plans, but also future cash or oil and gas subsidies, as Vucic has already stated that Serbia has dipped into gas reserves due to sanctions on importing from Russia.

Photo credit: Serbian PM Ana Brnabic has faced a variety of hot-topic issues, including not only the Serbian-Kosovo issue, but the recent gay pride parade ban, which angered the EU. Photo by: Bojan Cvetanović, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

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