The EU and Kosovo

Article published on Dec. 16, 2007
Article published on Dec. 16, 2007
On the 10th December, the European Council met to discuss the Western Balkans; a meeting which brought together Foreign and/or European Affairs Ministers from across the EU.
The Council reached the following conclusions regarding Kosovo, “important steps need to be taken in order to strengthen the status of legally constituted state, the fights against corruption and organized crime, as well as in order to improve dialogue between communities. The Council made clear that it is essential to continue with the effective implementation of norms in Kosovo, in particular with regards to the protection of minority groups and of sites of noted historical and religious importance. The resolution of the issue surrounding the status of Kosovo will facilitate the implementation of anticipated reforms. The European Union will continue to assume responsibilities within Kosovo”.   

With regards to Serbia, the Council said that signing up to this Stabilisation and Association agreement “remains dependant on the full and total cooperation of Serbia with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia”, also inviting the Country to further accept the reforms.

On Friday, heads of EU states or governments will gather for a summit in Brussels. According to news agencies, it would appear that the summit is ready to announce that “the negotiation process on the future statute of Kosovo is exhausted” and that the European Union is ready to “play a central role” with regards to the process of redefining the statute.

According to the Unity Team, the declaration of independence of Kosovo Albanians will take place before May 2008, in coordination with their Western partners. “From today, Kosovo will enter into intensive discussions with its international partners. We cannot wait to announce the date of the declaration of independence of Kosovo”, stated a spokesperson for Skënder Hyseni.    

Serbia has opened a Serbian government office in Kosovska Mitrovica, in the north of the heavily serb-populated province. The office was officially opened by the Minister of Kosovo and Metochie Slobodan Samardžić.  Steven Schook, the number two in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) immediately reacted by saying that the opening of this office did not fall under the remit of Resolution 1244, that “it represents an illegal and unacceptable move by the (X)”.  

A spokesman for the mission, Alexander Ivanko, confirmed during a press conference held in Priština that, “the opening of this office represents a political provocation”. He made clear that the Mission had informed the UN headquarters in New York and that they were awaiting an answer. “We are awaiting for an answer, but in the meantime we will work to settle the issue as soon as possible”, he said, adding that this problem needs to be examined by both the UNMIK and Contact Group.

Snejana Jovanovic 

Translation : Neil Saddington