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Roundtable 11.05.2018

The Kosovo Democratic Institute (KDI) held today the roundtable “What is the Future of Kosovo-Serbia Relations”, part of which was Enver Hoxhaj, Kosovo’s deputy prime minister, and Cedomir Jovanovic, president of Serbia’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) , who discussed with representatives of political parties, civil society and the media about the future of this process.

At the opening of this roundtable, KDI executive director Ismet Kryeziu stressed that the process for normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia has started for a long time and is now moving towards closure. He added that the process had its own difficulties, such as lack of transparency, and has produced effects that have not always been positive, such as the lack of implementation of the agreements.

Meanwhile, Cedomir Jovanovic said that work should be done to improve relations between the two countries but not insist that such a thing happens rapidly. He stressed that Belgrade’s rhetoric has changed recently with regard to the dialogue process. “I see that the rhetoric has changed and for Vucic it is no longer a problem to say that he has talked with Thaci and to release the crisis ball in Mitrovica. I do not believe in relationships that relate to individuals. This is a threat to Kosovo, “added Jovanovic.

Further, Jovanovic stressed that he is opposed to any agreement that would imply internal division into Kosovo society. He has said that he holds this attitude because he knows “what the consequences may be”.

When talking about the epilogue of this process, Jovanovic emphasized among other things that what Begrad wishes does not say it because it knows it is impossible. According to him, Serbia would like the north in recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj said that there should be clear time limits on the start and end of the dialogue process. He added that Kosovo has principles on how the last stage of dialogue should look and there is an expectation about what the epilogue will bring. “So far, many agreements have been reached but are being implemented at very little speed,” he added.

Further on, Hoxhaj added that the problem between Kosovo and Serbia has never been mutual recognition of diplomas or travel documents, but the Serbian hegemonic opinion and attitude on Kosovo, which have prevented the solution of the problem with Serbia.

Kosovo’s membership in UN, Hoxhaj said, is not in Vucic hands but of others.

“But to think that Serbia is a guarantee for Kosovo to join the UN as President Vucic speaks, this is not the letter Vuciqi has in hand, this letter is in the hands of others. Serbia can not join the EU without recognizing Kosovo, “he said.

As for the future of the dialogue, Hoxhaj underlined that the only open issue Kosovo has with Serbia is mutual recognition. “Mutual recognition will not be easy, but it is necessary,” Hoxhaj concluded.

This discussion was organized within the project “European Perspective – Building a National Consensus on the Normalization of Relations with Serbia” supported by the Swiss Embassy in Pristina.