Brussels Agreement - a question of life, not politics

Release date: 16.10.2018.
DSC_0098.JPG It has been five years since the signing of the Brussels Agreement. Some parts of the Agreement have been fully implemented, and some only partially. However, implementation of the most important parts of the Brussels Agreement is still awaiting, for example, establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO). Is the Brussels agreement clinically dead?

Does the division (exchange of territories) hinder the Brussels Agreement or the failure of the Brussels Agreement has led to division as the only option?

Deputy Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija of the Government of the Republic of Serbia Damnjan Jovic believes that everything related to the Brussels Agreement depends on the political will in Washington. “The most important thing is that our people in Kosovo live well.” Both sides should be willing to sacrifice their political rating in order to reach a compromise. Jovic recognizes such readiness only on the Serbian side.

Does the Kosovo Government* see the Brussels Agreement as an opportunity or a threat to peace and stability?

“Five years have passed since the signing of the Brussels Agreement, and the first step towards the formation of the ZSO has not yet been achieved, which is not a coincidence,” said Dalibor Jevtić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communities and Returns in the Government of Kosovo*. The best answer to the question whether the Brussels Agreement is alive or dead can be given by those who are its guarantors, such as the European Union. When the EU wants to solve an issue, they find ways and mechanisms. Jevtic said that recently there was an initiative to form a new Kosovo negotiation team, which is not supported by the Serbian list because it would only make the process of establishing mutual trust more difficult and slower.

Did the Brussels Agreement contribute to the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina?

Program Director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights and a member of the Working Group of the National Convention on the European Union for Chapter 35 - Other issues: Kosovo Ivan Djuric replied that the Brussels Agreement undoubtedly had a positive influence on the normalization of relations, but it has limited scope because it is constantly presented as an agreement “One side against the other” and a competition “who won and who lost" is forced on both sides. People on both sides need peace, as well as completely free movement. “When universal standards are established that are equal to all, then we can say that we are at the beginning of normalization.” Djuric supported the rhetoric of the leading politicians, which refers to peace, security and stability, but that, unfortunately, the rhetoric forcing the fighting readiness is much louder. He explained that normalization cannot be dealt with by one man, no matter how supported, but it is necessary that the overall team participates in the process, as well as civil society and the media.

What does the Brussels Agreement mean for Serbs south of the Ibar?

“It is important for us to talk about the dialogue and that it is not dead, because it is an opportunity for the problems to be solved," said Dalibor Jevtic.
Ivan Djuric believes that a potential division as a euphemism for the exchange of territory does not guarantee peace, but surely generates segregation between the two nations, which would produce new conflicts and be a source of instability. “It is true that it sounds like a simple solution, but if it existed, someone would have found it by now." Djuric is sure that such a scenario would leave its consequences on the region, if not beyond. He explained that the establishment of lasting peace takes much more than drawing boundaries.

The round table “Is the Brussels Agreement clinically dead?” of the working group of the National Convention on the European Union for Chapter 35 was organised on October 15 in the Media Center. The discussion was opened and moderated by Dragiša Mijačić, director of the Institute for Territorial Economic Development and Coordinator of the NCEU Working Group.

*This name is without prejudice to the status and is in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and the International Court of Justice's opinion on the Declaration of Independence of Kosovo.