The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo agreed Monday, Feb. 27, to support an agreement to normalize relations between the two states, although both sides cautioned that there would be more negotiations to come.
And while there was at least some cause for celebration, perhaps a more sober telling of the Monday discussions was a “tweet” by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, which stated that “e have made some progress today, but more work is needed.”
Borrell added in other tweets that “the agreement is above all for the citizens of Kosovo & Serbia” and that he would “convene another meeting between the two leaders in the course of March with the aim to finalise the discussions on the Implementation Annex, which will guide the implementation phase of the Agreement.”
This in fact countered other news reports, including by Radio Free Europe, that claimed that both Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti had agreed that “no further discussions were needed on the deal.”
Further discussion are expected in March, likely in North Macedonia, which should give time for both sides to focus on the 11-point plan published late Monday. Key to the plan is that both “parties shall mutually recognize their respective documents and national symbols, including passports, diplomas, license plates, and customs stamps,” as well as a second point that notes that “Serbia will not object to Kosovo’s membership in any international organization.”
Meanwhile, both leaders appeared to be somewhat hesitant to celebrate prematurely any kind of accord. Vucic will be expected to negotiate hard for the implementation for a “community of Serbs” in North Kosovo—which was to have been created almost a decade ago by previous agreements, and already Kurti has met this with resistance, claiming that it will have to fall under the Kosovo Constitution and existing laws.
In short, while both stances appear logical, the devil will be in the details, and devilishly difficult said details will be.
Yet there was at least some optimism—which is in stark contrast to the past year—with Vucic again committing to dialogue and Kurti stating, as cited by Radio Free Europe,” that “we are on the right track.”
Photo of the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell, by Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain (Attribution or Attribution), via Wikimedia Commons.