War of plates, Borrell: “Failed Kosovo-Serbia talks in Brussels”

“Eight hours” of talks between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti

After “eight hours” of talks in Brussels between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti, the parties “did not agree on a solution today” to the so-called ‘war of license plates’, which is causing serious tensions in the northern part of Kosovo. This was stated by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, at the EEAS in Brussels at the end of the meeting. The “failure of the talks”, he adds, bears an “important responsibility” for the “violence” that could unleash in the area in the coming days, if the Kosovan authorities really begin, as they have announced, to fine non-re-registered North Kosovo cars with Kosovar license plate.

The “proposal advanced” by the EU during today’s talks, notes Borrell, would have made it possible to avoid a “risky situation”. The Serbian president “accepted it”, but Kurti “unfortunately not”. Although she was rejected, “I expect Kosovo to immediately suspend any further steps related to the registration of vehicles in North Kosovo” and for Serbia “to suspend the issuance of new plates”. This “would give time to find a solution”, therefore “I ask both parties to implement these two requests”.

The ‘war of plates’, recalls Borrell, has been going on for some time and “now it’s even worse than August”, when the High Representative had to return to Brussels to get Belgrade and Pristina to talk. “The real problem – he continues – is the normalization of relations” between the two countries, because “the roots of the crisis go far beyond the question of license plates. We expect Kurti and Vucic to show leadership, so that they can advance” in the process of integration in the ‘EU, he concludes.