Dispute over car number plates: Serious tension as talks between Serbia and Kosovo break down


License plate disputeSerious tension – negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo have collapsed

EU efforts to ease tensions between Serbia and Kosovo have so far failed. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti rejected the de-escalation proposal during the meeting.

Ethnic Serb police officers take off their Kosovo police uniforms in Zvecan.

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It’s about it

  • In Kosovo, tensions between representatives of the Serbian minority and the government in Pristina have increased.

  • The recent tension is related to the number plate of the cars.

  • The new regulation of the government in Pristina on the license plate stipulates that license plates from Serbia may no longer be used in Kosovo.

EU mitigation efforts strong tension between Serbia and Kosovo have so far failed. The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, unfortunately did not accept the proposal for de-escalation during mediation negotiations in Brussels on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after about eight hours of unsuccessful negotiations. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, on the other hand, would support him. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized in the evening that escalation must be avoided. NATO-Kosovo forces remain vigilant.

Serbian policemen are off duty

According to Borrell, the EU proposal provided a compromise to resolve the conflict over the new license plate regulation from the Kosovo government. In the end, it even meant that police officers from the EU EULEX mission had to provide security in the predominantly Serb-populated north of Kosovo. Serbian police officers in the north of Kosovo have already resigned from the Kosovo Police in protest against the order.

New government regulations on license plates Pristina stipulates that license plates from Serbia may no longer be used in Kosovo. The measure affects several thousand Kosovo Serbs in the Serbian enclave around the northern Kosovo town of Kosovska Mitrovica, who often still use vehicles with Serbian license plates. In addition, passengers from Serbia must exchange license plates for temporary Kosovo license plates at the border.

Kosovo seceded from Serbia with the help of NATO

With the regulation, Kosovo is responding to Serbia’s non-recognition of license plates introduced by Kosovo after Kosovo declared independence in 2008. The compromise proposed by the EU, according to Borrell, stipulated, among other things, that authorities in Kosovo should suspend enforcement measures. On the other hand, Serbia should undertake not to issue new license plates to people living in Kosovo.

For years, the EU has been trying to help clarify the relationship between Serbia and Kosovo. This is extremely difficult because Kosovo, which today is almost entirely inhabited by Albanians, separated from Serbia in 1999 with the help of NATO and declared independence in 2008. Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by more than 100 countries, including Germany. The others, including Serbia, Russia, China and five EU countries, have not yet done so.

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