27. April. 2018. | 08:30 | Milos T.


Brussels Agreement - How far is the compromise?



Five years after reaching the Brussels agreement, Serbs are not fundamentally integrated into Kosovo society and with the establishment of the Association of Serbian Municipalities, Serb municipalities will be put out and more than 20,000 Serbs may remain without wages, it was said in the debate at the Social Club of Mitrovica which was held last night in North Mitrovica.

The Analyst from Pristina, Behlul Beqaj, says that thanks to the Brussels Agreement, parallel structures have been removed, there has been an integration of the judiciary and so on, but he thinks that in essence it did not come to the point where Serbs experience Kosovo's institutions as their own.

"For this I do not blame the Serbs, I think that such a situation has come because the majority didn’t find answers to many questions regarding the problems of Serbs, the demands of Serbs and the interests of Serbs," said Beqaj.

In this regard, he emphasizes the responsibility of the majority, because, as he says, Albanians simply have not found solutions to many open issues related to the interests and demands of Serbs.

"Integration, I think, is basically far from being implemented in accordance with the interests of those living in these municipalities, and whether there will be some changes, I think that will depend on many things, the willingness of those who caused this situation to review themselves and the whole process in the sense of revising the failures and obstacles that led to this situation", he says.

Beqaj emphasizes that he thinks that integration of Serbs into Kosovan society in the essential sense is far from being realized.

Beqaj, in the debate that Aktiv organized at the Social Club of Mitrovica, as part of the project supported by KFOS, said that the dialogue in Brussels is mostly jeopardized from the dialogue bearers, not from the citizens about which the dialogue is about.

Former Kosovo Government Minister Nenad Rasic, at the same event, commented on the survey findings that 40% of respondents in northern Kosovo do not support the Brussels Agreement, while the same number of people have no stand on this issue.

"Kosovo Serbs do not have enough information, otherwise the percentage of those who oppose the Brussels Agreement would be much higher. The ASM is often referred to as a big victory for the Serb community, same as Kosovo’s independence was once presented to Albanians... The truth is far from this", says Rasic.

If these 40 percent who do not have a stance knew that at the moment of the establishment, signing or inclusion in the Kosovo legal system, when the ASM is established, from that moment on Serbian institutions, Serb municipalities will cease to operate in Kosovo, then there would be a lot more people against the Brussels agreement, Rasic ascertains.

He mentions the example of the Serbian municipality of Pristina, which is displaced in Gracanica, and states that in this municipality alone there are 1250 people employed.

"If the citizens knew, those 40 percent undetermined in northern Kosovo, that the legally binding agreement implies putting out Serbian institutions, I'm sure 80 percent would oppose the Brussels Agreement", said Rasic, who is also the President of the Progressive Democratic Party.

"The problem is that the negotiations are being presented as a victory, and what is more tragic, as a victory for Kosovo Serbs. We all have to be aware that with the creation of the ASM, Kosovo Serbs are absolutely losing. From this process we are losing much more than we are winning "- says Rasic.

He asked if it is at all clear what it means, if in one night or within one month, 1250 people would lose their jobs in Gracanica.

"It is an economic genocide and a disaster. According to some information, about 22,000 employees work in local Serb self-governments that are displaced in Kosovo. We can, overnight, be left without 22,000 wages or 22,000 pillars of existence. This is the biggest problem. We should not celebrate something that is "a cat in a bag" and something that as an institution can certainly not employ more than 20,000 workers", Rasic says.

According to him, citizens are constantly bombed with disinformation and avoidance of essential problems that will arise after the establishment of the ASM.

He points out that in the south of Kosovo there is an apathy that, in his words, is unexplainable and that people live from 1st to the 5th of the month they receive the salary, which is sometimes a social category.

"Until the 5th of the month it is good, until they pay the utilities. After that ... Unfortunately, this is how I see the Serbs," Rasic said, and stressed that if economy does not grow, the survival of Serbs in Kosovo will be in question.

Rasic and Beqaj also talked about other topics related to the Brussels Agreement, but also answered questions from the public that participated in tonight's debate.