Kosovo Government building. Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

Kosovo Minister Sacks Management Team of Draft Statute for Association

The Minister of Administration and Local Government, Elbert Krasniqi, after Tuesday’s meeting in Brussels, dismissed the management team of the draft statute of the Association of Municipalities with a Serbian Majority.

After the presentation of the draft statute of the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo at the high-level meeting in Brussels, Kosovo’s Minister of Administration and Local Government, Elbert Krasniqi, dismissed the Management Team in charge of drafting the statute.

According to Krasniqi, “this team is now itself without status.”

The team responsible for drafting the Association Statute consisted of Jelena Bolovic, Igor Kalamar, Dejan Radojkovic and Danijela Vujicic.

Prishtina Insight asked for the CVs of the team from the Ministry of Administration and Local Government, but it did not answer by time of publication.

According to Petrit Selimi, former Foreign Minister of Kosovo, the draft gave Association competences to “execute laws”, “organize referendums”, “establish institutions & agencies”.

“It’s a non-starter in 90% of content”, Selimi wrote on Twitter, while posting an alleged photo of the draft.

After the EU-mediated high-level meeting between Kosovo PM Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels on Tuesday, Kurti said the draft statute as presented by the management team was “fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution, legality and democracy […] “.

According to Kurti, “their[the managing team’s] desire for a Serbian Republic has written this [the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities] statute”.

Kurti added that he proposed a draft vision outlining the values, principles, and framework that should regulate the issue of non-majority communities.

“I believe that my proposal will be taken seriously by the mediators, as it will enable us to build something good, fair, and useful for everyone, not only for the Serbs, who should be able to live in our country and be members of our society,” Kurti said.

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, emphasized that the first draft constitutes a significant part of the so-called Brussels Agreement, reached 10 years ago. 

Although the draft is not final, Borrell welcomed its submission and called it a starting point towards realization of the Association. 

But Kosovo’s President, Vjosa Osmani, said Kosovo needs to prepare its own draft statute.

“The Republic of Kosovo needs to have its own draft because we do not dare have a draft, which in reality is [President] Vucic’s draft, become the basis of negotiations,” she said on Monday, attending the commemoration of the Studime Massacre in Vushtrri.

Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi on April 5 told BIRN that the mandate of the Management Team would end “at the moment when it presents the draft” [of the statute for the formation of the Association of municipalities].

On April 27, Krasniqi wrote on Facebook that he had sent an invitation to the Management Team but did not receive a response from the team.

Chronological overview: A changing team

The Management Team has been involved in three separate decisions made by the Ministry of Local Government under three different governments, all of which are based on the Brussels Agreement of 2013.

Of the original team, only two remain unchanged: Igor Kalamar and Dejan Radojkovic. The other two members have been replaced several times. Danijela Vujicic is the youngest member of the team, having been appointed as the coordinator of the team in 2020.

The first decision was made in June 2013, during Hashim Thaçi’s governance. The second decision was made in June 2016, during Isa Mustafa’s governance. The most recent decision was made in September 2020, during Avdullah Hoti’s governance.

As per the decision of 2016, two members from the initial year, 2013, Ljubomir Maric and Dragan Jablanovic, were replaced by Vinka Radosavjljevic and Svetislav Durlevic. Kalamar and Radjkovic remained unreplaced and were also in the management team of 2023 for compilation of the draft statute.

According to the Implementation Plan of the Agreement, the Management Team consists of representatives of four Serb-majority municipalities from the north, and is established after confirmation by the competent authority of Kosovo. The implementation committee supervises the work of the Management Team.

In 2013, Kosovo and Serbia reached an agreement on the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities, and two years later, they agreed on the principles of its formation. In 2016, the Ministry of Local Self-Government Administration of Kosovo appointed the Management Team.

At that time, the head of the ministry was Lubomir Maric, from the ranks of Serbian List, the largest party of Kosovo Serbs, backed by Belgrade. He is now a deputy in the Serbian parliament for the ruling Serbian Progressive Party.

At the end of January, the German non-governmental organization Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung presented its own draft statute for the formation of the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities.

Maric, coordinator of the Management Team at the time, appointed the first four people to write the statute of the Association: Kalamar, Radojkovic, Radosavlevic and Durllevic.

The Association should consist of ten Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo: Graçanica, Shtërpca, Kllokot, Ranillugu, Partesh, Novobërda, all in the south, and North Mitrovica, Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok, in the north.

On March 18, in Ohrid, Kosovo and Serbia agreed to start implementation of a European Union plan, also known as the Franco-German plan, on normalisation of ties.

The annex agreed in Ohrid contained sanctions for those parties that do not implement the EU deal. Although no signatures were placed on the annex, the European Union has declared that it is binding for all parties.

This annex originates from the basic agreement for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

The agreement, which consists of 11 articles, does not require Serbia to recognize Kosovo but requires both countries to accept each other’s documents and symbols, including passports, diplomas, and license plates.

The content of this agreement was published on February 27.

03/05/2023 - 14:04

03 May 2023 - 14:04

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.