Brussels Agreement (2013)

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The Brussels Agreement (Albanian: Marrëveshja e Brukselit; Serbian: Бриселски споразум / Briselski sporazum) was made between the governments of Serbia and Kosovo on the normalization of their relations.[1] It was negotiated and concluded, although not signed by either party, in Brussels under the auspices of the European Union. The negotiations were led by Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, and mediated by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. The agreement was concluded on 19 April 2013.[2]


Following the Kosovo War and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, Kosovo was placed under United Nations administration under UNSC Resolution 1244. In 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence and has since been recognized by 108 countries. The declaration received mixed international recognition.


So far ten rounds of talks were held at the European External Action Service office in Brussels. Baroness Ashton, the EU High Representative, had been chairing talks for two years. followed by Federica Mogherini.[3] The next round of talks took place in December 2015. Relations between Kosovo and Serbia are still difficult, as this year's campaign by Serbia to prevent UNESCO-membership of Kosovo showed. Normalisation of relations with neighbouring states is a key precondition for states wishing to join the EU; the Brussels Agreement brought Serbia close to EU accession talks and Kosovo to initialling a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). The SAA was signed by HR Mogherini and PM Mustafa in October 2015. One of the most difficult problems still is removing the parallel Serbian structures in the Northern part of Kosovo until full sovereignty.

U.S. diplomats supported the EU-led dialogue from the beginning. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton invited Baroness Ashton to undertake joint travel in the Balkans, and the two made joint visits to Belgrade and Pristina (as well as Sarajevo) in October 2012. Clinton assigned Deputy Assistant Secretary of State ambassador Philip Reeker to support Ashton's efforts. Reeker and his team coordinated closely with EU colleagues, and met with Serbian and Kosovar representatives on the margins of every dialogue session in Brussels, and during visits to the region.

The result was a 15-point "First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalisation of Relations", initialed but not signed on 19 April 2013.[4]

After the agreement was concluded, the European Commission officially advised that work start on an SAA with Kosovo,[5] and accession negotiations began with Serbia. The agreement was supported by the European Union, NATO, the OSCE, and the United Nations.[6]


The document is meant to integrate Serb-majority municipalities in Northern Kosovo into the Kosovo legal system, while providing certain guarantees. For example, all judicial matters are under the law of Kosovo, but Kosovo Serbs must be a majority of certain judicial panels, and a panel (Mitrovica District Court) must sit in Northern Mitrovica. Similarly, all policing is to be done by the Kosovo Police, but the Police Regional Commander for the Serb-majority areas must be a Kosovo Serb, chosen from a list provided by Kosovo Serb municipalities. Implementation, however, is slow.

Neither Kosovo nor Serbia may block the other party's progress towards accession into the European Union.[7][8]

Later talks

After the Brussels Agreement, meetings are held regular to bring about implementation of the provisions in different areas. In February 2015 a Justice agreement was concluded, followed by agreements on agreements on energy and telecom operators. On Aug. 25, 2015, an agreement was arched for the establishment of the Association of Serbian Comunitiers, the core of the Brussels Agreement. The statutes have yet to be drafted.

There were also concerns about how the 2013 local government elections in Kosovo would be administered; the government of Serbia objected to any mention of "the state of Kosovo" on ballot papers.[9] The government of Serbia agreed that it should encourage Serbs in northern Kosovo to get involved in these local elections.[10]

In October 2013, arrangements were made for Serbian officials to visit North Kosovo.[11] It was agreed that electoral bodies in Kosovo would include Kosovo Serb representatives[12] and that international dialing code +383 would be attributed to Kosovo.[13] The new code was expected to go into effect in late 2015 but has again been delayed by Serbia until March 2016.[14]


Some scholars, including Smilja Avramov and Elena Guskova, stated that the Brussels Agreement violates the Constitution of Serbia and the United Nations Charter and represents an indirect recognition of the independence of Kosovo.[15]

The Assembly of Kosovo has ratified the agreement, accepting it into a law, and treating it as an "international agreement".[16]

The National Assembly of Serbia has not treated the agreement as international, and has not ratified it into a binding law, which is a procedure required for international agreements in Serbia. [17] It has, however, merely accepted the government report about the "hitherto process of political and technical dialog with the temporary institutions in Pristina with the mediation of EU, including the process of implementation of the achieved agreements". [18] The constitutional court in Belgrade, did not answer the question about constitutionality of the agreement, stating in December 2014, [19] that the issue raised is a political question, and not a legal one.

Serbia has accepted, however, that progress in implementing the Brussels agreement is a prerequisite for EU accession talks within the opening of Chapter 35 negotiations in December 2015.

See also


  1. As to the agreement not having been signed, see text of agreement.
  2. "EU brokers historic Kosovo deal, door opens to Serbia accession". Reuters. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Another Serbia-Kosovo meeting in Brussels ends without agreement". 27 August 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "The Kosovo-Serbia Agreement: Why Less Is More". International Crisis Group. Retrieved 29 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Serbia and Kosovo reach landmark deal". European Union External Action Service. Retrieved 28 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Ban welcomes 'landmark' agreement between Serbia and Kosovo negotiators". UN News Centre. Retrieved 29 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "First agreement of principles governing the normalization of relations" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "The Kosovo-Serbia Agreement: Why Less Is More". Crisis Group. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Serbia and Kosovo hold talks in Brussels". Euronews. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Serbian PM claims Kosovo breaches Brussels agreement: media". Xinhua. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Belgrade, Pristina overcome dispute ahead of Kosovo local polls". EUbusiness. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Brussels Deal: Serbian Officials Free To Enter Kosovo". inSerbia. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Serbia allocated calling code to Kosovo". B92. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini following the meeting of the EU-facilitated dialogue". EEAS - European Union. Retrieved 25 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Смиља Аврамов: Споразум Београда и Приштине индиректно признање самопроглашеног Косова". Novinar Online. SRNA. Retrieved 30 October 2013. Српски експерт за међународно право Смиља Аврамов оцијенила је да споразум између Београда и Приштине представља индиректно признање самопроглашеног Косова и поручила да је њиме погажена Повеља УН која Србији гарантује територијални интегритет....Јелена Гускова: Споразум Београда и Приштине је уговор о признању независности Косова<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. [1]
  19. [2]

External links