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Serbs and Kosovars agree on border points, not on cooperation

The Jarinje border point destroyed in February 2011. (Credit: Eulex)

(BRUSSELS2) The dialogue between Serbs and Kosovars carried out under the aegis of the European Union resulted today (2 December) in a new agreement on integrated border management (IBM), announces a Council press release of the European Union. It took a good two days to reach this agreement. And still everything is not settled

Two days of discussion

Negotiators from Kosovo (Edita Tahiri, the deputy prime minister), Serbia (Borislav Stefanovic) and EU facilitator Robert Cooper arrived on Wednesday (November 30) with the intention of finalizing their discussions. Late in the evening, around 22 p.m., they separated on a draft agreement, and a deadline for the capitals to consult each other. Just after the meeting of foreign ministers, Thursday (December 1), at the end of the afternoon, Robert. Cooper had taken the High Representative aside to give her the latest twists and turns of the conversation and to share with her his feelings and to consider the future. Finally it was decided to split the subjects: the agreement was able to be reached today. today (December 2) on border posts but not on regional cooperation.

Single border points

The parties recognized that it was necessary for them to “ gradually harmonize their legislation with the Community acquis » and therefore to arrive at an integrated management concept for crossing points (IBM). Serbs and Kosovars will gradually establish control “ single, joint and integrated » at all their crossing points. Eulex customs officers will be present, “ in line with the terms of reference ". " IBM's concept will be gradually implemented as soon as possible. »

No agreement on regional cooperation

On the other hand, no agreement could be reached on the representation of Kosovo during regional cooperation forums (the Serbs until recently refused to allow a delegation with the name “Kosovo” and the flag to sit next to them during of these meetings. They had made it a point of honor particularly during previous gymnichs (in Slovenia for example). substantive discussion " which allowed " satisfactory progress “, the point will be considered again” at the next meeting ».
The parties also followed up on discussions held at previous meetings, including on telecommunications and energy.

Follow-up of previous decisions

Part of the meeting was also devoted to monitoring the application of the measures previously decided (including “telecom” and “energy”). Thus a final deadline was given to December 26, 2011 for the full implementation of freedom of movement. As for the agreement on civil status, the parties must begin to exchange documents from December 5, 2011.

For Serbia, achieving this type of agreement is quite important because it still hopes to be able to obtain candidate country status from the 27 at the summit on December 9. A tangent deadline to say the least. Germany, which was very reluctant, had set two main conditions: normalize relations with Kosovo, withdraw all support from the north and disarm the paramilitaries. The recent incidents in northern Kosovo, which saw around thirty German and Austrian soldiers injured while trying to dismantle a dam, have not really lightened the mood. German Chancellor Angela Merkel today (December 2) officially stated in the Bundestag that Serbia is not ready to receive the status of a candidate country.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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