On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron attributed the lack of adherence to the mediation agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, facilitated by prominent European Union figures, to the authorities in Kosovo. Macron expressed his disappointment with their failure to honor the agreement, which was aimed at accelerating their integration into the European Union.
“The Kosovar authorities have decided not to respect the agreement that had been reached, the process that had been initiated under European mediation in which we were involved, with (German) Chancellor (Olaf) Scholz, and which had enabled significant progress to be made precisely thanks to the negotiator Miroslav Lajcak and the involvement also of (EU foreign policy chief) Josep Borrell,” Macron said.
He was addressing a joint news conference with his Slovakian counterpart Zuzana Caputova on the sidelines of GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum in Bratislava.
“We made it very clear to the Kosovar authorities that it was a mistake to proceed with these elections within the framework which was, as you know, almost non-participation,” Macron added.
The French leader further said that he along with German Chancellor Scholz will meet with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and Serbian President Aleksanar Vucic in Moldovo.
“I hope that tomorrow, on the sidelines of the European Political Committee with Chancellor Scholz, as we did on the sidelines of the session in Prague, we can see the Kosovo president and the Serbian president together.
“Very clearly there is a responsibility of the Kosovar authorities in the current situation and a failure to respect an agreement which was nevertheless important and which had been ceded just a few weeks ago,” said Macron.
Since Monday morning, Serb protesters have gathered outside the Serb-dominated Zvecan Municipality in northern Kosovo to bar newly elected Albanian mayors from entering municipal buildings.
The protesters attempted to breach the police cordon in front of the town hall, the police said in a statement, adding that they used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
KFOR units also used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters, who did not retreat and responded with stones and sticks.
Last month, Kosovo Serbs boycotted extraordinary local government elections for four municipalities in the country’s north. Only 3.47% of eligible voters cast ballots, according to the Kosovo Central Election Commission (KQZ).
After the elections, the EU said in a statement that low turnout did not provide the municipalities with long-term political solutions.
As tensions rose in the region, neighboring Serbia ordered its army to advance to the border with Kosovo – which Serbia claims to be its own territory – and urged NATO to “stop the violence against local Serbs in Kosovo.”
The EU requires Kosovo and Serbia to reach a final agreement and resolve disputes to
Macron hailed 30 years of relations and cooperation with Slovakia, noting that the two countries have been strategic partners since 2008.
“We will adopt an action plan to implement this strategic partnership until 2027,” the president added.
He said that important civil nuclear and hydrogen agreements will be signed on Wednesday with Slovakia.
The French president also thanked Bratislava for its stance in the Ukrainian war and for supporting Kyiv.