Introduction to the Dialogue

The dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia began on 8 March 2011 in Brussels, Belgium.   In the first phase of the process, Edita Tahiri led the delegation of Kosovo, Borko Stefanovic led the delegation of Serbia and Councilor Robert Cooper facilitated the dialogue. The process began with technical topic, which aimed at improving the lives of the citizens of Kosovo and Serbia. Generally, the period from 2011 to 2013 marks the period of the technical dialogue. During this period, many important agreements were materialised such as: The Agreement on Civil Registry Books (2011); The Agreement on Cadastral Records (2011); The Agreement on Freedom of Movement (2011); The Agreement on IBM (2011); The Agreement on the Recognition of Diplomas (2011); The Agreement on Custom Stamps (2011); The Agreement on Regional Representation and Cooperation (2012); the Agreement on the Collection of Custom Duties (2013); The Agreement on Telecommunications (2013); and the Agreement on Energy (2013). 

The nature of the dialogue alternated on 19 April 2013 when Kosovo and Serbia agreed on the First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalisation of Relations. From 2013 and on, the process of political dialogue began and negotiations moved to the highest levels of representatives of Kosovo and Serbia (Presidents and Prime ministers).

The First Agreement on Principles Governing the Normalisation of Relations is often referred to as the Brussels Agreement and serves as a framework agreement for several sensitive topics. This agreement addressed the issue of the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities (ASM/CSM), Integration of Justice, Police and Civil Protection- Serb parallel structures (in northern municipalities) into the system of Kosovo and the holding of Local Elections in the four northern municipalities (Leposavić/Leposaviq, Zubin Potok, North Mitrovicë/a and Zvečan/ Zveçan) under the jurisdiction of Kosovo. This agreement opened the path for further agreements to be negotiated and concluded on these topics such as: The General Principles/Main Elements of ASM/CSM (2015), Integration of Civil Protection (2015) and the Agreement on Justice (2015). During this period further sensitive agreements were successfully concluded as the Agreement on the Removal of Barricades and the Revitalisation of Mitrovica Bridge (2014) and the Agreement on the Exchange of Liaison Officers (2013).  

The negotiations were held at three levels: high political level, technical level and working group level. Some of the topics were discussed more before they were materialised in concrete agreements, while other topics were discussed less. For some topics, it was difficult to reach consensus and/ or to captivate the mutual interest, for instance the Cultural Heritage, Financial Transparency or the Missing Persons.

To date, information has been absent as there is missing data about the dialogue process and all the meetings held. For some, this is a result of the lack of transparency, while for others it simply is attributed to the nature of the process in general.

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