The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell announced an agreement on freedom of movement between Belgrade and Pristina
Serbia and Kosovo have reached a “Freedom of Movement Agreement” after weeks of tension, the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell said on Saturday, adding that he was “happy to announce” the agreement between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
Following last week’s meeting between the two leaders in Brussels and “intense follow-up efforts in Pristina and Belgrade”, Serbia has agreed to abolish entry and exit documents for Kosovo ID card holders, and Kosovo has agreed not to introduce any for Serbian ID card holders, Borrell said in a statement.
Serbs living in the northern part of the breakaway province as well as other Kosovo residents will be able to travel freely between Serbia and Kosovo using their existing identity cards, the statement said, adding that the EU had “has received guarantees from Prime Minister Kurti for this purpose.”
Borrell then praised the development saying that “We have found a European solution that facilitates travel between Kosovo and Serbia. He also particularly praised Vucic’s actions saying that the Serbian President “showed responsibility and leadership today.” The top EU diplomat also thanked the United States “for their support for the dialogue facilitated by the EU”, call him “an example of excellent practical cooperation between the EU and the US.”
Borrell admitted that “the problem with license plates” had not yet been resolved and called on the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to “continue to show pragmatism and constructiveness” in this regard as well. However, he said that “Today is a very good day.”
Belgrade apparently did not share Brussels’ happy sentiment. Speaking to Serbian citizens on Saturday, Vucic described talks with “Kosovo Albanians” as “very unsuccessful, extremely difficult” adding that “Ultimately, we got to the point where we don’t agree on anything.”
The Serbian leader insisted that “mutual recognition” will never be on the agenda like Belgrade “can’t forget that Kosovo is part of Serbia.” He also said officials in Brussels were wasting their time and money if they thought they could facilitate such a deal.
Vucic confirmed that Serbia will accept Kosovo ID cards when it comes to travel, but will only do so “for practical reasons” at “Allow freedom of movement.” Such a step “cannot be interpreted as recognition of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo, nor does it undermine sovereignty”, he added.
What is important is that “Kosovo and Metohija Serbs can move freely in and out of the territory of Kosovo and Metohija”, Vucic said, adding that Belgrade was asking “To obtain guarantees from the EU, we demand that every Serb in northern Kosovo and Metohija be able to enter the territory of Kosovo and Metohija with Serbian documents, and that he can leave whenever he wishes.”
We are always ready to compromise, but we are not there yet. Kurti is convinced that with their propaganda they will succeed in convincing the Serbian people to give up their state of Serbia.
The development came a day after US Balkan envoy Gabriel Escobar called on Serbia to recognize Kosovo and promised prosperity in the EU for both instead. Vucic responded by saying he wasn’t surprised to hear something like that from an American diplomat.
“Don’t forget that he represents American politics. What do you expect from him, what news does this bring you?!” the Serbian president said on Saturday, adding that “they or they [the US] tell us that for 23 years!