The European Parliament has approved a resolution regarding Serbia, urging action to be taken following a ‘terrorist attack’

by Cristian Florescu

The resolution regarding the recent advancements in the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, encompassing the circumstances in the northern municipalities of Kosovo, was collectively presented by a coalition consisting of the European People’s Party, Socialists and Democrats, Renew Europe, the Greens, European Conservatives and Reformists.

The European Parliament has urged European Union member states to implement specific measures aimed at imposing restrictions on Serbia, a candidate country of the EU, in response to the terrorist incident that occurred in northern Kosovo on September 24th. This attack was executed by paramilitary forces from Serbia.

The assault resulted in the unfortunate demise of a Kosovo police officer, while the Kosovo authorities’ efforts to restore order led to the fatalities of three Serbs.

According to a previous report by Euractiv, the European Commission has already formulated measures targeting Serbia, although they have not yet been implemented. The European Union has urged Serbia to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation into the attack.

The aforementioned resolution, titled “Resolution on the recent advancements in the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, encompassing the conditions prevailing in the northern municipalities within Kosovo,” was collectively proposed by a coalition of five political groups, namely the European People’s Party, Socialists and Democrats, Renew Europe, the Greens, and European Conservatives and Reformists.

The Greens/EFA effectively advocated for a strategy to confine the NATO-led KFOR mission in the northern region of Kosovo, which involved strengthening and deploying forces to serve as a crucial deterrent against additional border-related conflicts.

According to Viola von Cramon, a Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to Kosovo, it is imperative that we do not overlook the significance of the September terrorist attack. She emphasizes that each act of violence not only impacts Kosovo and Serbia, but also has repercussions for the wider European region.

She emphasized the necessity of a thorough and impartial investigation into the Banjska attack, a matter that should ideally be undertaken with the support and involvement of the European Union, as stated by Kosovo authorities.

It is imperative for Serbia to engage in the investigation without any conditions. Firmly supporting Kosovo is crucial for fostering peaceful dialogue in the region moving forward.

Tonino Picula, the spokesperson for foreign affairs in the S&D party and the negotiator responsible for the resolution pertaining to Serbia and Kosovo, expressed that…

The act of terrorism, which we strongly denounce, represents a significant turning point that has not been witnessed since the end of the war. As a result, it is imperative that there are substantive political repercussions, such as implementing focused sanctions against individuals or groups who are contributing to instability in the northern region of Kosovo.

He urged the Commission to suspend pre-accession funds in the event that inquiries uncover direct involvement of the Serbian government in the September assault, prior assaults on KFOR troops in May, or if they demonstrate reluctance to cooperate with the investigation.

Moreover, Picula expressed deep concern regarding the accumulation of Serbian military forces along the Kosovo border. He urged NATO to formulate a comprehensive strategy to control the situation in the northern region of the country. Additionally, he emphasized the urgent need for EU member states to expeditiously dispatch additional troops.

The enduring alliance between Serbia Russia and China gives rise to significant inquiries regarding Serbia’s long-term strategic trajectory. The apprehension surrounding the destabilizing impact of the Serbian leadership, particularly under the administration of President Aleksandar Vučić, extends to the entire region.

The MEP further emphasized the need for expeditious lifting of measures pertaining to Kosovo, while also urging Pristina to promptly establish the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities in accordance with dialogue agreements supported by the EU.

The sole resolution lies in the normalization of relations achieved through compromise. This necessitates thorough investigation and prosecution, as well as a cessation of any further escalation, prompting both parties to engage in a dialogue facilitated by the European Union. In light of this, he concluded by urging the EU to present a fresh, inventive, and equitable strategy to overcome the current impasse.

The resolution additionally called upon High Representative Josep Borrell and EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák to actively facilitate the dialogue and provide a detailed report to Parliament by the conclusion of 2023, outlining their observations on the extent to which Serbia and Kosovo have engaged with, taken action on, and achieved the objectives set forth in the dialogue.

Both parties involved in the ongoing dialogue process have faced substantial criticism from Kosovo, Albania, and several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) due to perceived bias and a lack of tangible outcomes, including the failure to reach any agreements or obtain official endorsements.

Moreover, there is increasing pressure from various perspectives to reevaluate the discourse in light of the events that occurred on 24 September and to contemplate a fresh strategy.

Borrell’s tenure is scheduled to conclude in the spring of 2024, while Lajcak is expected to remain in office until 2025.

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