Wednesday October 05, 2022

EU talks do not resolve Serbia-Kosovo rift

Published : 19 Aug 2022, 01:27

  DF News Desk

The dispute over license plates in Kosovo with neighboring Serbia has stretched on for months now. Photo: Via DW.

Serbia and Kosovo failed to reach a solution over recent disputes in the region at EU-mediated talks in Brussels on Thursday, but the two Balkan nations did agree to continue talking, EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell said, reported DW, quoting news agencies AFP, AP, dpa and Reuters.

Borrell added that talks between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti would resume "in the coming days."

"it is not the end of the story," he said.

A Vucic aide told journalists in Brussels that Vucic would give "what will be one of his most important speeches" on Kosovo from the Serbian capital, Belgrade, on Friday. Serbian state media reported Vucic planned to hold an "emergency meeting" with Serbian minority leaders from Kosovo in Belgrade on Sunday.

What is this latest dispute over?

On July 31, ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo blocked roads and erected barricades in response to a dispute over license plates. Kosovo tried to order Serbian vehicles to switch plates to ones from Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, while routed through the country.

Kurti acquiesced on the matter under pressure from the US and the EU. He agreed to delay introducing the measure until September 1.

Why are the two sides at odds?

Both Serbia and Kosovo aim to join the European Union. To formally begin the path towards membership, both countries must resolve lingering disputes and border issues.

Kosovo won its independence from Serbia in 2008. In 1999, NATO pushed back Serbian forces who were attacking Kosovar Albanians in the second Balkan War of the 1990s while Slobodan Milosevic was president of Serbia.

Formally, however, Serbia has not accepted Kosovo's independence and still considers Kosovo part of the country. Belgrade has accused Prishtina of denying ethnic Serbs in Kosovo rights.

Only 5% of Kosovo's 1.8 million people are ethnic Serbs.

What is the international community's involvement in Kosovo?

There are currently 3,700 NATO troops stationed in Kosovo to maintain a fragile peace.

The EU's Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) arrived in 2008 and still has roughly 200 police working in the region.

Serbian allies Russia and China do not recognize Kosovo, which is recognized by the US and most Western nations.