High Level Meeting – 26 October 2023
On 26 October 2023, in Brussels, the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia, Kurti and Vučić, met separately with EU heads; President of the European Council, Charles Michel; Federal Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz; President of France, Emmanuel Macron; EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell; EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue; and US special envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar.
Representatives from the European Union called on Kosovo and Serbia to restart dialogue as the sole means to alleviate the escalating tension between the two nations. This marks the initial visit of its kind since September 24, when approximately 30 Serb gunmen entered northern Kosovo, resulting in the death of a Kosovo police officer, the establishment of barricades, and an extended gun battle with Kosovo police.
The primary goal of the discussions was to translate into action an agreement reached by Vučić and Kurti in February, even though they have since expressed reservations about it. The aim was to delve into and elaborate on new “proposals and ideas” introduced during the exploratory talks last weekend.
The EU and US are urging Kosovo to permit the establishment of an Association of Serb-majority municipalities. This association aims to coordinate efforts in education, healthcare, land planning, and economic development in the predominantly Serbian-populated communities of northern Kosovo. However, Kurti is concerned that forming such an association could be a progression toward establishing a Serbian mini-state with substantial autonomy.
Vučić insisted “that Serbia can’t accept membership in the U.N. or independence for Kosovo.”