Prishtina-Belgrade Agreement

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Prishtina and Belgrade signed an agreement, which is seen as a catalyst for other agreements.

Prishtina and Belgrade signed an agreement, on April 19, 2013, relating the normalization of relationships between each other. There were various interpretations towards this act: some saying that Kosovo won, some saying that Serbia won on a margin of 14 to 1, and others saying that Serbia has recognized the Republic of Kosovo. This agreement was supposed to a compromise on the interests of both parties.

This agreement is seen as a step forward for Kosovo, but not recognition. This agreement creates association/community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo, which, as a result, gives full power for sectors such as economy, urban planning, health and education. Also, it enables the power to select police leadership for the Northern region, for judges and others; and inserts within the framework of Kosovo the existing structures of Serb security institutions that are a part of the country. It is also guaranteed that neither country would hamper each other’s integration in the European Union.

Oliver Ivanovic, the Serb political representative from Mitrovica, implies that even after this agreement Serbs are afraid of any physical contact with Albanians, due to the prejudices as a result of the negative experiences during the war of 1999. He adds that in order for this agreement to be accepted by Serbs of Mitrovica, it should not be transmitted to them by Prishtina or Brussels, but: “the only party that can be trusted in long-term is the Government of the Republic of Serbia. They have the obligation to explain to people that work [the agreement].”

Part of the agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is also holding local elections in four Northern municipalities which are expected to be organized this year by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE. Ivanovic states that this is not a good idea because less than 10% of the Northern population would vote; hence, degrading the credibility of OSCE. He proposes: “there must be no hurry and next year will probably be the best solution.” OSCE spokesman in Prishtina, Nikola Gaon, told “Life in Kosovo” that the OSCE is familiar with its role in the agreement and that the situation is being monitored; therefore, the elections are supposed to take place on this autumn, 2013.

Nexhmedin Spahiu, analyst from Mitrovica, states that one of the most discussable points on this agreements are the ones which Serbia wants to isolate itself inside the borders of Kosovo. “They want to create institutions that will be for Serbs only, just to isolate themselves inside Kosovo. While according to Ahtisaari’s plan Kosovo is a multiethnic country where everyone has the right to their own ethnicity and there are no institutions that categorize each one of them.”

Naim Rashiti, ICG (International Crisis Group), suggested that the agreement reached on April 19 in Brussels is just an opening step towards other agreements. He analogizes this situation with the one in between east and west Germany in 1970s. t

Also expected to be discussed is Kosovo becoming a member of the Green Card, which includes all the countries of Europe and some other countries of the Mediterranean. Green Card would enable Kosovar citizens to pass the borders without having to pay extra insurance fees for their vehicles. Also, Kosovo would demand its own international bank code which would allow the sending and receiving of the transactions information in a more secure and standardized way. A international dialing code will also be demanded for Kosovo.