EIP and FES Kosovo Office present draft statute for “Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Kosovo in which the Kosovo Serb community is in Majority”
We, the European Institute of Peace (EIP) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Pristina Office are pleased to present the result of our work on a draft statute for an “Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Kosovo in which the Kosovo Serb Community is in Majority”.
In its 23 years of presence in Kosovo, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Pristina Office has contributed to the public discussion and policy making on many different political, economic and social issues. As part of our programme, we aim to strengthen Kosovo as a partner for peace and security in the region and to support its committed political agenda for EU integration.
The European Institute of Peace is a Brussels-based public interest foundation, set up specifically to complement and strengthen European peacemaking and to support European conflict resolution efforts. The Institute has been active in the Western Balkan region since early 2021 with a comprehensive focus on the Kosovo-Serbia normalization efforts and their vital role for regional stability.
Against this background, the two organisations launched a joint series of workshops in 2022 on outstanding issues of normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia. One of the most prominent – and challenging – issues is the establishment of an “Association of Serb-majority municipalities,” which stems from the 2013 First agreement on principles governing normalization of relations reached in Brussels.
In 2015, Kosovo`s Constitutional Court ruled that the “principles as elaborated in the “Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo – general principles/main elements are not entirely in compliance with the spirit of the Constitution […]”. However, it also concluded that the Association/Community is part of the Kosovo legal system and that the Association/Community is to be established as provided by the First Agreement [of principles governing normalization of relations], and provided detailed guidance on how to address any constitutional concerns in the establishment of an Association /Community.
Since then, there have been no attempts to present a proposal for public discussion and scrutiny. The publication seeks to fill this void.
The publication has the following objectives:
- Present a proposal for an “Association of Municipalities in which the Kosovo-Serb community is in Majority” that is in line with Kosovo`s constitutional and legal system in effect;
- Address and incorporate practical expectations and concerns of the residents of the presumed member municipalities; and
- Facilitate a public discussion on a subject of national importance on the basis of a draft statute.
To attain the best possible outcome for such a public proposal, we conducted thorough research into the full spectrum of documents framing the issue, followed by a series of internal workshops with subject-matter experts and representatives from civil society. Upon completion of a working draft, we conducted a comprehensive legal review to assure that our proposal is constitutional.
Given the public attention to our work on this matter, we would like to stress that FES and EIP are independent non-governmental organizations and that we were neither “authorized” nor asked by any particular actor to draft a proposal. In a highly politically instrumentalized environment, the publication should therefore be seen rather as a starting point for an evidence-based contribution. Our work was solely guided by the motivation to contribute to initiating a substantive public discussion and offering our recommendations shaped through appropriate local and international expertise – as we have done in the past on various political and socio-economical issues.
In this publication, you will find a draft statute of an “Association of Municipalities in which the Kosovo-Serb community is in Majority,” as well as an explanatory note to provide context on the proposal.
We hope that you will find the draft engaging, considerate and a constructive contribution to the on-going efforts on normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia.