Perparim Isufi, Pristina BIRN January 19, 2022.
Kosovo entered the new year burdened with most of the problems it had entering 2021 – the stalled dialogue with Serbia, the visa issue with the EU and the disputed Association of Serb-majority Municipalities.
The EU-facilitated Dialogue on normalization of relations with Serbia was supposed to advance in 2021 – but didn’t. The European Union was supposed to lift the visa regime for Kosovars – but didn’t. Many other issues on the country’s checklist at the start of 2021 are still there, adding to another year of what seems like a life in limbo.
The only major difference at the end of the year was that Kosovo had a stable government in terms of numbers in parliament.
This was after, for the first time in the short history of Kosovo elections, voters entrusted a single party, Albin Kurti’s Vetevendosje, to lead the country in the task to fight endemic corruption, undertake internal reforms and reach a permanent solution to relations with Serbia.
Talks since 2011 between the two sides have brought some progress in technical issues but not on the main political issue of Kosovo’s final status. Serbia refuses to recognize its former province as an independent state.
For years, Kosovo and Serbia leaders have traded accusations over which side is most responsible for the failure to implement agreements reached in Brussels.
Negotiations led to the so-called Brussels Agreement in 2013, which envisaged the establishment of an Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities in areas of Kosovo where they form the majority.