As a deadline for finding a solution and avoiding an ethnic conflict approach, the EU has organized urgent discussions with Serbia and Kosovo.
The goal of the meeting on November 21 in Brussels between Serbian President Aleksander Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, is to ease tensions between the two nations, EurActive reported.
The action is being taken as a deadline to begin enforcing fines for citizens failing to display car registration plates issued by Kosovo institutions expires on the same day. This is the next step in a gradual rollout that will result in a complete ban by April.
Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia over license plates
Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia have risen since Pristina began carrying out the gradual plan for the re-registration of vehicles with invalid Serbian license plates on November 1.
EU authorities are under pressure to reach a deal before the deadline passes because of concern that the region would otherwise relapse into ethnic conflict.
The Kosovo delegation was in Brussels last week for negotiations with the EU side, but Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi said that no progress had been made.
Speaking on behalf of the EU, Peter Stano indicated there was no specific time frame but it will occur “very soon.”
“We have urgently invited both parties to Brussels to find a European solution, a European solution to the current situation, which is among the most serious since 2013, and this is the goal, to have them in Brussels to discuss the solution”, Stano said.
The region might be headed for a severe crisis – Borrell
Borrell warned last week that if the parties did not reach a deal, the region might be headed for a severe crisis. He urged both parties to uphold their end of the bargain in the conversation between Belgrade and Pristina, which was mediated by the EU.
Borrell stated following a meeting of EU foreign ministers last week that “unnecessary and counterproductive tensions” between Kosovo and Serbia “are reaching a very, very dangerous level” and are putting the world “unhappily on the edge of another crisis.”
Following the resignation of 600 police officers, judges, prosecutors, and other state employees from the Serb minority due to the automobile license plate controversy, EU police officers are now conducting patrols in northern Kosovo.
EU plans to deploy Polish and Italian policemen to Kosovo
The EU plans to deploy 130 policemen from Poland and Italy to cover the security gap in the areas where there is no local police presence. However, foreign policemen will lack the authority to make arrests.
Ivica Dacic, the foreign minister of Serbia, stated that it was not surprising that the EU arranged the meeting but that he did not see any need for Vucic to go.
He also hinted that if a resolution was not found, there would be conflict. “It is necessary that someone comes to senses to prevent any possible incidents and sparks that can ignite the entire region. This indicates that the decision about the license plates needs to be delayed, he continued.
The results of the peace attempt by the EU will be known shortly.
License plate issue is used by Serbia and Russia to inflame tensions – Gërvalla
Donika Gërvalla, Kosovo’s Foreign and Diaspora Minister, declared that the license plate problem is being used by Serbia and Russia to inflame tensions in Kosovo.
Remember that Serbia is, probably, the last nation in Europe that still supports Russia, in the times of Russia’s war against Ukraine, and European-Russian tensions over Ukraine.
When all of this is taken into account, we can see why tensions in Kosovo and the possibility of unrest in the Balkans directly match Moscow’s geopolitical objectives and go against those of the US and the EU.