05 March 2020 - Balkans Group organized a workshop on the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue in Pristina with students from the universities AAB College, University for Business and Technology (UBT), College Universum and University of Pristina (UP). Through this event, BPRG aimed at informing and generating discussion on the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue process.
The workshop discussion was structured in two main sessions. At the outset, participants filled in an online survey of nine (9) questions aimed at encouraging them to brainstorm and express their opinions anonymously about the dialogue.
The first session generated an informative debate on the Brussels facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia with the assistance of the expert Dren Zeka. The discussion focused on two main segments: a general overview of the dialogue, and the agreements reached so far with special attention to the ones that have been implemented as well as why certain agreements have stalled. Participants were very engaged and raised several questions during this session.
The second session generated an interactive discussion as participants were arranged into groups and asked to evaluate the level of importance of the various agreements. The majority of the groups considered “Freedom of Movement” (revitalization of Mitrovica Bridge in particular), “Recognition of University Diplomas”, “Integrated border/boundary Management” and “Integration of Justice” as high level of importance. They also assessed the agreements they considered of lesser importance which they found to be "Energy”, “Telecommunications” and “Liaison Offices”. This activity was very successful as it generated fruitful discussions among the participants and also informed them about the content of the various agreements.
In the same manner as the survey conducted during the workshop on February 25, 2020, BPRG found that participants were somewhat informed about the dialogue and that their main sources of information used to be informed were TV news/debates followed by the social media channels.
The future of the dialogue was also raised during the discussions, especially with the new government in place. Overall, the majority of participants believe that continuation of the dialogue is the only way to move forward in order for Kosovo to reach its aims and objectives. Regarding the 100% tax on Serbian goods, there was consensus among the participants that the tax should be removed, but not without Serbia being conditioned or implementing the agreements. Participants were also positive about furthering cooperation with the EU and USA, and suggested the involvement of USA on the role of the facilitator of the dialogue.
This workshop was organized as part of the project “Advancing Kosovo Institutions, Democratization and Regional Cooperation” and falls under one of the regional cooperation pillars of the project, which aims to promote and support the dialogue on normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. This activity is funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pristina.