EU threatens Serbia and Kosovo with “negative consequences” if tensions remain

The European Union has called on Serbia and Kosovo to de-escalate, and Brussels has demanded that Kosovo hold new elections in areas where Serbs mostly live.

The EU issued an official statement.

“We urge both Kosovo and Serbia to immediately and unconditionally take measures to de-escalate, stop using divisive rhetoric and refrain from any further uncoordinated actions. Calm needs to be restored urgently“, the statement says.

The EU expects both Kosovo and Serbia to act responsibly and engage immediately in a dialogue facilitated by the European Union.

“The European Union expects both Kosovo and Serbia to act responsibly and engage immediately in the EU-facilitated Dialogue to find a sustainable solution to the situation in the north of Kosovo that guarantees safety, security and participatory democracy for all citizens”, the statement reads.

The EU said it would take “decisive measures” with “negative consequences” if the tension in the region is not reduced.

The EU also threatened Serbia and Kosovo with punitive measures for the unrest that occurred in late May in the predominantly Serb-populated northern regions of Kosovo.

The clashes in the city of Zveçani in the north of partially recognized Kosovo resulted in injuries to North Atlantic Alliance peacekeepers from the KFOR mission and Serbs protesting near the administrative building over the non-recognition of local elections.

Turkey decided to send its peacekeeping forces to Kosovo in response to NATO’s request.

The unrest followed disputed elections in Kosovo on April 23, which ethnic Serbs largely boycotted.

The mayors, all ethnic Albanians, were elected in April after Serb representatives resigned en masse from Kosovo institutions at the end of 2022. 

They abandoned their mandates following Pristina’s decision to enforce a rule that all vehicles in Kosovo should have Kosovo-issued plates. This decision affected Serbs who did not recognize Pristina’s independence from Serbia in 2008 and still have Serbian plates.

The local election was boycotted by Serbs, who represent a majority in the region, following calls from Belgrade.

Kosovo police published a notification saying they are working to preserve the peace and ensure public safety.

Read also: Russia is waging a disinformation war in the Balkans

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