Association of Serb Municipalities: Understanding Conflicting Views of Albanians and Serbs- policy report

January 2017

– The Agreement on the Association/Community of Serb Majority Municipalities marks the cornerstone of discord of the EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. The General Principles for the establishment of the Association/Community, agreed in August 2015, brought more controversy and caused an unprecedented crisis in Kosovo. Proponents championed it as a tool to integrate northern Kosovo Serbs into Kosovo jurisdiction and advance normalisation of relations between the two states. Yet, the Association has become a complicated matter in practice. Many segments of Kosovo society reject an Association of this kind, the Constitutional Court ruled it to be in violation of the spirit of the Constitution and the government is largely reluctant to implement it until Serbia presents clear plans for withdrawal of the parallel institutions it funds around Kosovo. Kosovo Serbs view an Association from a very practical point of view: as a reward instrument for painful integration into Kosovo and a replacement for departing Serbian-funded institutions. Serbs fear the Albanian reactions seen over the last 24 months, feel unwanted in Kosovo and worry that Belgrade will abandon them soon. The Serb community – the party most affected by the dialogue and least included in it – want the dialogue on normalisation to continue, want the coalition agreement to be adhered to and want a smooth transition from the Serbian to Kosovar system. Read more: Association of Serb Municipalities: Understanding Conflicting Views of Albanians and Serbs