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EU declares settlement in Serbia-Kosovo ID spat

August 27, 2022

The European Union declared a solution just days before Kosovo was set to introduce measures that had angered its neighbor.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti
The announcement of the settlement follows previous EU-mitigated attempts to resolve the tension

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said on Saturday that a deal had been reached to settle the recent ethnic tensions between Serbia and Kosovo that had flared over a dispute about identity documents.

"We have a deal," Borrell said in a tweet. "Under the EU-facilitated Dialogue, Serbia agreed to abolish entry/exit documents for Kosovo ID holders and Kosovo agreed to not introduce them for Serbian ID holders."

Borrell said the EU received guarantees from Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti that Kosovan Serbs and "all other citizens" can travel between Kosovo and Serbia using their identity documents. 

What are the current tensions between Serbia and Kosovo?

The recent increase in tensions between the Balkan neighbors came about after Kosovo announced a plan to force Serbs with Serbian identity cards to obtain an additional document when entering the country.

Serbia had already refused to recognize identity documents from Kosovo.

Kosovo's government had also announced that Serbian license plates would no longer be valid within the country.

Following pressure from Western powers, Kurti  postponed the implementation of these measures until the beginning of September.

Members of the Serbian minority within Kosovo had responded to the plans by setting up roadblocks and sounding air raid sirens. Police said that some militants fired shots at officers, although nobody was injured.

Pristina accused Belgrade of instigating the riots, while Serbian officials said Kosovo was planning a "pogrom" of its Serb minority.

Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade has not formally recognized this.

ab/fb (Reuters, dpa)