Overall, Kosovo has remained engaged in the dialogue and committed to the implementation of the agreements reached. However, Kosovo needs to make further efforts and contribute to he establishment of circumstances conducive to the normalisation of relations with Serbia. Further progress in this area remains essential for advancing the European future of Kosovo.
Work under the EU-facilitated dialogue has continued throughout the reporting period. Overall progress in the implementation of the 25 August 2015 agreement has been slow. This is partly due to respective internal circumstances, with parliamentary elections followed by a lengthy government formation process in Serbia and the domestic situation in Kosovo. During the last high-level dialogue in January 2016, both sides had asked for political space to operate in, address these domestic challenges and consolidate government and governance. EU frequent bilateral contacts and discussions with both sides helped maintain the political engagement at highest level, and re-engage both sides to resume work on the implementation of past agreements.
Since the formation of the Serbian government in August, both sides engaged in acceleration of the implementation of the 25 August 2015 Agreements. Implementation of the agreement on the Mitrovicë/Mitrovica Bridge commenced in August and works on and around the bridge, including turning the North Mitrovica municipality’s main street (King Petar Street) into a pedestrian zone, are to be completed by January 2017. Progress has been made when it comes to bridging different views on the arrangement on telecoms, while final implementation is still outstanding. Little progress has been made on the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo. After the official appointment of the management team, a mandate needs to be given to it by Kosovo to draft the statute of the Association/Community. Serbia needs to register and license the two Serbian energy companies to be established in Kosovo to allow progress in the field of Energy.
Further progress has been made on the implementation of the April 2013 ‘First agreement of principles governing the normalisation of relations’. Kosovo Serb police and civil protection personnel are now fully integrated into the Kosovo system. The dismantling of the Serbian structures on justice continues as scheduled and all former Serbian judicial personnel are expected to be into the Kosovo system by autumn 2016. In the context of the liaison arrangements, official visits are directly arranged by Liaison Officers in line with the relevant agreement.
Most agreements from the Technical Dialogue (2011-2012) are now implemented and functioning. In the field of cadastre, the scanning of documents pertaining to Kosovo was completed in June, as scheduled but the documents have not been delivered to the EU Special representative in Kosovo, in line with the agreement on cadastre. Both sides agreed on new modalities for the implementation of the University Diploma agreement in April. An agreement was reached in September on the implementation of the licence plate related remaining elements of the agreement on freedom of movement. Requests for Mutual Legal Assistance are being processed. Serbia needs to remain committed to the continued implementation of the agreement on representation and participation of Kosovo in regional forums. Serbian official statements have at times interfered with the judicial process led by EULEX. Serbia has yet to address the issue of re-located Serbian administrative customs structures with Kosovo denomination that operate from within Serbia, and to cease the issuance of documentation or affixing of stamps with denomination that contravenes to the related agreement. On IBM, while the interim crossing points are fully operational, there has been no progress in establishing the three permanent crossing points to be hosted by Serbia. Illegal crossing roads/ by-passes, in particular in the north of Kosovo, continue to be regularly used to smuggle substantial amounts of goods. Additional measures need to be taken by Serbia to close illegal crossings.
Overall, Kosovo has remained engaged in the dialogue and committed to the implementation of the agreements reached. However, Kosovo needs to make further efforts and contribute to the establishment of circumstances conducive to the normalisation of relations with Serbia. Further progress in this area remains essential for advancing the European future of Kosovo.
(European Commission, 09/11/2016)