First Agreement Of Principles Governing The Normalization Of Relations

On 19 April 2013, the Heads of State and Government of Serbia and Kosovo signed the “first agreement in principle on the normalisation of relations” in Brussels, under the auspices of the European Union and Catherine Catherine Ashton, the EU`s head of foreign policy. Although there is opposition to the agreement in both Serbia and Kosovo, it has been approved in the meantime by the two parliaments of Belgrade and Prishtina. This briefing examines the context of the agreement and its political implications. The Serbian National Assembly did not treat the agreement as international and did not ratify it into a binding law, which is a necessary procedure for international agreements in Serbia. [21] However, it only accepted the government report on “the process of political and technical dialogue with the temporary institutions of Pristina, under the aegis of the EU, including the process of implementing the agreements reached”. [22] The Constitutional Court of Belgrade did not respond to the question of the constitutionality of the agreement and stated in December 2014[23] that the issue raised was political and not legal. In addition, research has found clear evidence of the fundamental role of the media in managing the public belief system in the Kosovo issue. Government tabloid newspapers such as the Inform, Kurir, Alo, Telegraph and pro-government channels such as Pink and Happy, with the exception of a role in the “guarantee of government power,” are also used to promote Kosovo`s emotional narratives, which do not favour a more moderate approach to the issue. Recipients of media content close to the government are generally opposed to any compromise on the Kosovo issue or to a more conciliatory policy towards Kosovo Albanians in general, who conclude an agreement involving the recognition of Kosovo as a betrayal of borders.

This means that the Serbian government, although left unattended by the international community in order to find the necessary domestic support for Kosovo`s policy, also at the expense of fundamental political freedoms, has essentially tied its hands. President Vuéi`s “two-tiered language game” strategy, in which his loyalist sent more “emotional messages” on the Kosovo issue in order to hold a significant portion of the electorate; While he sent more than one “realistic attitude,” he somewhat influenced his constituents. The hardline voters of the ruling party have become more sensitive to “realistic stories about Kosovo”. However, it appears that the general deterioration of political freedoms in Serbia has alienated some anti-government voters. Even if they are more “realistic” towards Kosovo, they would find it difficult to support President Vuéié`s plan for a comprehensive agreement on normalization of relations simply because that government is behind it. Formal discussions on the normalization of relations on the basis of the protection of the Community rights of Kosovo Serbs over the non-majority of the Community through the creation of an association/community of Serb majority communes have led, since July 2018, to the reintroduction of the concept of territorial delimitation and land exchange. A post-Kosovo political agreement has been in stagnation since November 2018 and Pristina`s decision to impose 100% quality tariffs on Serbia to prevent President Thaci from reaching an agreement on the basis of the exchange of territories. Under the Brussels agreement, meetings are held regularly to ensure the implementation of provisions in various areas. An agreement on justice was reached in February 2015, followed by agreements on energy and telecommunications operators.

On 25 August 2015, an agreement was reached for the creation of the Serbian Community Association, which is at the heart of the Brussels agreement. The statutes have yet to be drawn up. Following the conclusion of the agreement, the European Commission officially announced that work on the ASA with Kosovo[8] and accession negotiations with Serbia had begun.