Agreements for Serbia, Kosovo ready to be signed, says EU special envoy

Serbia and Kosovo have agreed to meet at the highest level, and several agreements for the two countries are ready to be signed shortly, according to the European Union’s special envoy for the Balkans.

Miroslav Lajcak, a mediator between the two countries, made the remarks on Saturday evening at the 15th Dubrovnik Forum international conference held in Croatia’s coastal city of Dubrovnik.

Though Lajcak did not say in his speech what the agreements covered, he did say last month that Serbia and Kosovo had agreed to adopt a roadmap for the implementation of energy agreements within the framework of the Brussels Dialogue.

Any agreement reached between the two countries would be the first signed by both parties since Lajcak took over the talks for normalizing relations between the two.

In 2011, the EU launched a dialogue process to improve relations between Kosovo and Serbia, although the effort has been hampered by tensions in recent years.

The objective is to achieve a solution to the issue of how consumers in Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo would pay for energy supplies. Since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, the situation has remained unresolved, with Serbs still refusing to pay for the power provided to them because they do not recognize Kosovo’s institutions as legally valid.

According to the roadmap, the Kosovo Energy Regulatory Office will issue a supply license to Drustvo Elektrosever, a subsidiary of Serbian state-run energy provider Elektroprivreda Srbije in Kosovo.

Lajcak asserted at the forum that the dialogue process between the two countries is the most strategic process in the region.

Two pressing problems, he explained, are the start of negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia’s entry to the European Union, as well as a visa-free regime for Kosovo.

”I stressed the war in Ukraine changed everything. It made enlargement political again. For too long, we were complacent. This cannot continue any longer,” Lajcak said on social media.

“We need to finish our unfinished business when it comes to the European Union integration of the Western Balkans.”

The two-day Dubrovnik Forum this year focuses on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008.

Serbia has not recognized Kosovo’s independence and continues to lay claim to the territory.

Kosovo also aims to achieve full EU membership and gain a visa-free regime for the EU zone.