“Kosovo and Serbia have agreed an executive annex to the agreement on the way to normalize relations between them,” Borrell said after meeting with the leaders of the two countries in the North Macedonian city of Ohrid.
However, he explained that the annex had not yet been signed because “the parties could not find a mutually acceptable solution as ambitious as the one we proposed.” Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti added that “it is now up to the European Union to find a mechanism to make this agreement legally and internationally binding.”
Kosovo and Serbia agreed a Western-backed deal in Brussels last month on the normalization of relations in Brussels, after nearly 10 years of EU-mediated dialogue with little progress. However, an agreement was still needed on the annex on the way to implement the plan, which was the subject of Saturday’s discussions.
The European proposal stipulates that the two sides will not use violence to resolve their differences. The annex would lead to de facto mutual recognition between Belgrade and Pristina, as it stipulates that the two countries “will recognize each other’s laws and national symbols.”
The text also declares that “Serbia will not oppose Kosovo’s membership in an international organisation”, which is a key issue for Pristina, and at the same time proposes to grant an “adequate level of self-government” to the Serbian minority in Kosovo.
Reuters reminds that prior to Saturday’s meeting, despite verbally agreeing to the agreement, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic remained firm and unwilling to compromise on key issues.-
Vucic announced that Serbia would never accept Kosovo’s independence, and Kurti claimed that he would not agree to the proposed association of Serbian municipalities in Kosovo, which would give them greater autonomy.
On the latter point Borrell explained that “Kosovo has agreed to start negotiations with the European Union immediately, facilitating dialogue on establishing a concrete agreement and guaranteeing an adequate level of self-governance for Kosovo’s Serbian communities.”
Belgrade and Pristina need to repair bilateral relations in order to achieve their strategic goal of EU accession.