IN THE DRAFT statute of the Association of Serbian Municipalities, whose text was worked on by the German foundation “Friedrich Ebert Stiftung” (FES) and the European Institute for Peace (EIP), and which “Novosti” had access to, the potentially most dangerous pitfall of their proposal immediately catches the eye: everything must be done in accordance with the laws and constitution of the fake state of Kosovo.
The writers of the document apparently generously, on 19 pages, complied with everything stipulated by the Brussels Agreement, signed back in 2013. However, although at first glance it may seem that the authors of the Draft Statute of the ZSO were generous towards the Serbs, the very wording “in accordance with the laws and the Constitution of Kosovo” can render all solutions meaningless in practice.
Thus, according to the proposal of “Friedrich Ebert” and EIP, the future Association-Community of municipalities where Serbs make up the majority population should have a president, vice-president, council, coat of arms, flag, decision-making rights in healthcare, education, urban planning, economic development. It is expected to have its own budget, property, the right to be financed by Serbia, without paying taxes and fees, as well as to establish contacts and cooperation with other associations-communities in the world. All that was foreseen in the agreement reached nine years ago.
And that’s where the “but” comes in.
Literally every item – from the jurisdiction of the ZSO in the field of health to textbooks in the Serbian language – everything “must be in accordance with Kosovo laws”.
And not only that, in the last article 17, paragraph 4 of the draft it is clearly “nailed down” that in fact everything previously stated and foreseen in the document can be “crossed out” by the decision of Pristina. Article 17 states verbatim:
– At any time, the Government can use its constitutional right to refer to the Constitutional Court questions related to the constitutionality of any aspect of the work and functioning of the Association-Community. Decisions and opinions of the Constitutional Court are binding for the Association-Community.
The “packaged” text of the Draft Statute of the ZSO thus gives the Serbs from the north of Kosovo and Metohija everything that was agreed upon, but only “on paper”. Because, after nine years of Pristina refusing to form the ZSO and destroying agreements with the decisions of the Constitutional Court (which has already declared that the formation of the Community is not in accordance with the highest legal act), and the EU as the guarantor of all agreements is persistently silent, can guarantee that the government of Aljbina Kurtija or someone else will not change their laws and make constitutional decisions as they wish and thus block the work of the ZSO?
As “Novosti” has already announced, the FES and EIP organizations have been “tailoring” the draft of the ZSO statute in recent months and it was presented to Serbian and Albanian NGOs at a meeting in Belgrade on Tuesday, which expressed certain objections. After the process of revising the text, it should be on the table of Miroslav Lajčak, the EU’s special envoy for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
The inclusion of a foundation from Germany in the drafting of the ZSO Statute, and the bypassing of the representatives of the “Serbian List”, as the strongest political option in Serbian circles, who were not invited to the meeting, caused the suspicion that the process of forming the Community is passing from the EU to one of its members, Germany, which now should lead to a paper that would later be delivered to Serbia in a more or less ultimate form. What is additionally worrying is the well-known position of official Berlin, for which the independence of Kosovo is a done deal and which openly asks Belgrade to recognize the independence of the fake state.
BRUSSELS IGNORES MANAGEMENT TEAM
ACCORDING to the agreements reached in Brussels, the Management Team for the drafting of the ZSO Statute completed this work more than four years ago and informed the EU about it then, as a mediator in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. For the last time, in April of this year, the management team again asked the EU to convene a high-level meeting at which the Draft Statute of the ZSO would be presented (the holding of which is provided for in Article 21 of the General Principles). However, the meeting where the document was supposed to be presented was never convened by Brussels.
There were four Serbs in the team that worked on the Draft Statute, two from the south and two from the north of Kosovo, and during the work on the Statute, as they pointed out at the time, they did not have the opportunity to meet with the implementation committees in Brussels and present the work on the text, in order to possibly get some suggestions, as was foreseen in the agreement.
Namely, in April 2018, the EU set a deadline for the Draft Statute to be drawn up in four months, and it expired on August 4, 2018. At the beginning of August 2018, the management team announced that it was ready to at any time after August 4, at the request of Brussels , present the text to the implementation committees and high-level dialogue participants.
Since then, nothing has happened, and now the question arises as to whether the inclusion of German NGOs, and the civil sector from Serbia and Kosovo in the drafting of the ZSO Statute, definitely put an end to the efforts of the Management Team.
Otherwise, according to the agreements reached and according to the strictly prescribed procedure, only the Management Team is competent to draft the ZSO Statute.
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