The EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia remains at an impasse as the parties failed to agree on an agenda at the latest negotiation round held in Brussels on Friday, May 13.
EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak expressed his regrets on social media after the meeting.
“Just finished today’s meetings of Chief Negotiators in Brussels. Results are mixed. Regrettably, no agreement was reached on licence plates, however we made progress on other files including energy. The work will continue,” he wrote on Twitter
Kosovo negotiator Besnik Bislimi and Serbian representative Petar Petkovic met with Lajcak separately on Friday, but not with each other. Following their respective meetings, the parties traded jabs, accusing the other of being unwilling to compromise.
License plates reciprocity was among the key issues of their divide. Vehicles moving between the two countries are required to place stickers on their license plates to hide country names and flags. This temporary solution continues after the two parties failed to reach a permanent solution by the established deadline of April 22, 2022.
Bislimi said Serbia had been warned to propose a solution on this issue, but appeared reluctant to share their ideas on the matter.
“Expectations have been very high since the meeting took place at the request of the Serbian side. Unfortunately, today we saw a very strange behavior of the Serbian side. They say we have an idea, but we can not reveal it”, Beslimi said.
On the other hand, the Serbian side wants a Serbs-only association in Kosovo to be on the negotiating table, which the government of Albin Kurti has expressly refused. An association of this nature would essentially create a parallel government within Kosovo for its Serbian citizens, which the Kosovo Constitutional Court found in violation of the country’s constitution.
“There is room for agreement on some issues, but we also need the consent of the other side. Even today, we were unable to have an in-person meeting with Mr. Bislim because he refused to talk about the Association and missing persons,” Petkovic retorted.
Last week Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had dinner with Lajcak in Berlin, after each party met separately with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The informal dinner was an attempt to revive the dialogue, which has remained in frozen since July 2021.
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