President of the Republic of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani arrives at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Brussels, Belgium, 13 December 2023. EU and Western Balkans leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss strengthening regional cooperation and partnerships, as well as pursuing economic convergence with the EU. EPA-EFE/Olivier Matthys

Osmani Calls EU to Remove Sanctions on Kosovo and Grant Candidate Country Status

At the summit of the leaders of the European Union and the Western Balkans, the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, requested the removal of sanctions against Kosovo and the granting of candidate country status. She also warned tha Serbia is preparing another attack on Kosovo.

During the EU-Western Balkans summit held on Wednesday, President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, urged the EU to lift sanctions against Kosovo, stating that the EU’s requirements have been fulfilled, and the sanctions are unjust.

Osmani also emphasized that the EU needs to move towards granting Kosovo the status of a candidate country.

“It is time to see concrete steps from the EU, to lift the measures and grant candidate country status to Kosovo. Kosovo remains the only country out of the six Western Balkans countries without a candidate status. We applied about a year ago, and it is about time that we move on with this process because we have made great strides not just meeting European criteria but also reforms in the rule of law, democracy, economy, and we are ready to do more,” Osmani declared.

In June 2023, the EU announced a package of ‘reversible’ measures against Kosovo, citing its failure to restore calm in the Serb-majority north.

Some of the measures include the suspension of high-level visits, contacts, and events, as well as financial cooperation with Kosovo for different projects.

The President of Kosovo reiterated the request for similar measures against Serbia regarding the September 24 terrorist attack in Banjska, Zvecan.

“The measures against Kosovo should be lifted, and measures against Serbia should be taken because of the aggression committed on September 24. Unfortunately, there has been no action so far, and if it continues without any action, then Serbia will take it as encouragement,” Osmani said during her stay in Brussels.

Additionally, Osmani stated that Serbia is planning new attacks against Kosovo. She added that she will inform European leaders about the information gathered by security agencies on this matter.

“All the information we have indicates that Serbia is planning new attacks. These are alarms that we must take very seriously and act as a precaution so that Serbia is not allowed to destabilize our region any further,” she further emphasized.

“Unfortunately, Serbia is still led by individuals who want to return our region to the ’90s. We must not allow such a mentality, such a logic, to triumph. Therefore, we are working with our European partners to enhance security in Kosovo, especially regarding the security along the border with Serbia,” Osmani declared further.

On September 24, an armed group of Serbs attacked the Kosovo Police in Banjska, northern Kosovo, resulting in the death of officer Afrim Bunjaku.

After the joint summit, the leaders of the European Union and its member states, in consultation with the leaders of Western Balkan countries, issued a joint statement.

Point seven of this statement, which discusses the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, EU and Western Balkan leaders stated that they expect constructive engagement from both parties in good faith and in the spirit of compromise to make rapid progress in normalizing relations.

It is also emphasized that parties are encouraged to fully implement the Agreement on the normalization process and the applicable annex.

“We also expect the parties to continue sustained efforts to reduce tension in accordance with the EU’s requirements and not to take unilateral and uncoordinated actions that may cause further tension and violence, and not to use rhetoric that does not favor the normalization of relations,” the statement said.

Key points of the joint statement at the EU-Western Balkans summit include facing together the negative consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, strengthening security and resilience, irregular migration, the fight against terrorism and organized crime, etc.

14/12/2023 - 13:09

14 December 2023 - 13:09

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