Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, during a visit to the European Parliament in Brusselss on Thursday has pledged to implement the Association of Serb Municipalities.
“We have signed the Association agreement in 2015 and are not trying to depart from it; we will fully comply with it, but we have agreed to work together toward a legally binding agreemend with Serbia, in wchih the Association as well as other issues are inlcuded,” Hoti told the members of EP Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The ASM was part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. It stipulated that Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo will be able to form a self-governing association with full governing power in many areas, including education, health, economic development, urban planning.
The agreement was fiercely opposed by the Kosovo opposition for creating the conditions for the “bosnization” of Kosovo, i.e. the creation of a state within a state.
In December 2015, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled parts of the 2013 agreement unconstitutional, and the establishment of the association stalled.
Whilst Hoti pledges to implement the ASM agreement, it remains unclear why the issue is part of next negotiations with Serbia in Brussels, and how the government will comply with the Constitutional Court verdict.
AFET Chair David MacAllister commended Hoti for his “brave decision” to lift tariffs on Serbian goods and open the way to dialogue with Serbia.
In their press statement, the EP called the pledge signed by Hoti in Washington “a document” and “a paper”:
“Assessing the document he signed with Serbian president Vucic last week in Washington, Kosovo’s Prime Minister said it is a paper on economic normalisation, and the deal on mutual recognition between Kosovo and Israel has judged as a breakthrough in the process of recognition of his country.”
The prime minister highlighted the fact that Kosovo has met all requirements for visa liberalization, and asked MEPs to support a final decision during the Germany’s 2020 EU Council Presidency.
Hoti also discussed visa liberalization and Kosovo’s European future with the EP President, David Sassoli.