“Community of Serb Municipalities: Key Element of the Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina”

Release date: 15.05.2019.
60346697_357302448463405_8921133577622519808_n.jpg The two sides must continue talks on the Community of Serb Municipalities and the Serb community must be involved in this process. Discussions on this topic should not be sacrificed to discuss the possible delimitation. These are some of the recommendations of the analysis "Community of Serb Municipalities: Key Element of the Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina" that was presented on May 10 in Mitrovica North.

The panelists included the authors of the analysis Igor Markovic and Caleb Waugh from NGO Aktiv, as well as Shpetim Gashi from the Inclusive Management Council.

The authors emphasized that, despite the fundamental disagreement over the nature of the Community of Serb Municipalities, the two sides must continue the talks with a view to reaching a compromise and finding a mechanism that would adequately protect the interests of the Serb community in Kosovo, and would not be an unacceptable concession for the Kosovo side.

The creation of the Community of Serb Municipalities, or implementation of the relevant points of the Brussels Agreement, have been almost unsolvable problems since 2013. Thanks to the ambiguity of the agreement itself, as well as the political dynamics in Kosovo, different views on how this institution should look prevented its establishment six years after the signing of the Brussels Agreement.

Judgment of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo regarding the Agreement on the Community of Serb Municipalities of 25 August 2015, according to which as many as 4 out of 5 parts of this agreement contain unconstitutional provisions, restored things to the beginning. Additionally, the authors state that the public emergence of the idea of delimitation pushed the establishment of the Community into oblivion.

It was underlined that a consistent majority of Serbs in Kosovo supports the establishment of the Community and believes that it will eventually be established (at least in one form or another), but at the same time they tend to express reservations regarding the scope and depth of executive competencies / powers it will have. During 2018, as much as 51.2% of respondents (in the north of Kosovo) considered that the Community would be established, but "not this year", while only 16% said it would be established - without the time frame mentioned. A total of 57.2% of all participants in the survey believe that the Community will exist one day.

Shpetim Gashi iz Saveta za inkluzivno upravljanje smatra da se ZSO neće formirati dok se ne postigne Sveobuhvatni sporazum o normalizaciji odnosa Beograda i Prištine. Ni Beograd ni Priština nisu sada zainteresovani za formiranje ZSO i kaže da ako se dođe do razgraničenja, Zajednica neće ni biti formirana. Međutim, navodi da ukoliko ne dođe do razgraničenja, ZSO će biti deo Sveobuhvatnog sporazuma i da bez ustavnih promena ZSO ne može da ima izvršna ovlašćenja.

Shpetim Gashi from the Inclusive Governance Councli believes that the Community will not be formed until the Comprehensive Agreement on the Normalization of Relations between Belgrade and Pristina is achieved. Neither Belgrade nor Pristina are now interested in forming the Community and he says that if a delimitation occurs, the Community will not be formed. However, he says that if there is no delimitation, the Community will be part of the Comprehensive Agreement and that it cannot have executive powers without constitutional changes.

The event and the analysis are part of the project National Convention on the European Union (NCEU) 2018/2019, implemented by the National Convention on the European Union, in cooperation with the Institute for Territorial Economic Development (InTER), and financially supported by the Open Society Foundation Serbia.