EU High Representative recommends lifting sanctions on Kosovo: Emphasis on dialogue advancement

19 Qershor 2024, 10:51Kosovo & Region TEMA

EU High Representative recommends lifting sanctions on Kosovo: Emphasis on

June 19, 2024 - Josep Borrell, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has called upon member states to take a clear position on lifting sanctions against Kosovo. Sources familiar with Borrell's report emphasized his view that Kosovo has made significant strides in meeting EU requirements outlined in a June 3, 2023 declaration. Borrell suggested that the EU Council should now consider removing these sanctions while respecting institutional responsibilities.

In his report, Borrell stressed the potential political impact of such decision, believing it would create a conducive environment for the EU-facilitated dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade to proceed smoothly. Diplomatic sources anticipate Kosovo will seize this opportunity to de-escalate tensions and avoid unilateral actions.

The report specifically addressed past demands made to Kosovo regarding the activities of Kosovo Police special units in the predominantly Serb-populated northern region, and the roles of Albanian mayors in four municipalities there.

The EU intends to closely monitor developments in northern Kosovo and the actions of Kosovo and Serbia, aiming to prevent any further escalation of tensions. Borrell's report is slated for discussion at the EU Political and Security Committee meeting on June 19, with a decision potentially being reached during the Foreign Affairs Council meeting of ministers on June 24.

Borrell submitted his report on June 18, though its delivery was delayed due to Kosovo's recent closure of Serbian Post Office branches in the northern part of the country. These measures were initially imposed a year ago in response to heightened security concerns following the assumption of office by Albanian mayors in northern municipalities, amidst a local Serbian boycott.

EU measures have also included the suspension of activities related to the Stabilization and Association Agreement, and restrictions on Kosovo's participation in high-level events and bilateral visits, except those aimed at addressing crises in northern Kosovo under EU mediation. Additionally, funding programs under IPA 2024 for Kosovo have been put on hold.

Kosovo's government maintains it has met EU requirements, pointing to easing tensions and recent local Serbian votes to dismiss municipal mayors as reasons to lift the imposed sanctions.


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