EU official says Serbia, Kosovo agree on IDs in step forward

Aug 26, 2022, 11:11 PM | Updated: Aug 27, 2022, 11:50 am
In this photo provided by the Serbian Presidential Press Service, Serbian President Aleksandar Vuci...

In this photo provided by the Serbian Presidential Press Service, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, right, speaks with European Union envoy Miroslav Lajcak in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo soared anew late last month when Kosovo's government declared that Serb-issued identity documents and vehicle license plates would no longer be valid in Kosovo's territory, as Kosovo-issued ones are not valid in Serbia. (Serbian Presidential Press Service via AP)

(Serbian Presidential Press Service via AP)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The European Union’s foreign policy chief announced Saturday that Serbia and Kosovo have agreed on how to resolve a dispute over their identity documents, settling one of the problems that have sparked the latest tensions between the former Balkan war foes.

The comments by Josep Borell come after a flurry of international diplomatic efforts to defuse concerns that the problems could escalate further amid the war in Ukraine and Serbia’s close ties with Russia.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade does not recognize.

Tensions soared late last month when Kosovo’s government declared that Serb-issued identity documents and vehicle license plates would no longer be valid in Kosovo’s territory, just as Kosovo-issued ones are not valid in Serbia. Serbia in the past years required Kosovo ID holders to acquire special passes when traveling through Serbia to show it does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Kosovo said it was responding with reciprocity to Serbia. But Kosovo Serbs reacted furiously, blocking roads in the Serb-dominated north. Belgrade accused Kosovo of pressuring minority Serbs in the north, who largely reject Kosovo-issued documents in defiance of Kosovo’s statehood and hold Serbian ones.

In the past two weeks, EU officials mediated a meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Brussels, and U.S. and EU envoys traveled to the region to try to resolve the issue.

“We have a deal,” Borrell said on Twitter. “Serbia agreed to abolish entry/exit documents for Kosovo ID holders and Kosovo agreed to not introduce them for Serbian ID holders.”

“Kosovo Serbs, as well as all other citizens, will be able to travel freely between Kosovo & Serbia using their ID cards,” he added.

Kosovo President Vlosa Osmani said on Facebook that the deal meant “reciprocity and equality.”

“Freedom of movement is the foundation of democratic societies and European values,” she said, adding that Kosovo will continue to strive for “mutual recognition.”

Earlier Saturday, Vucic told reporters that if the ID deal is reached, Serbia will issue a “general disclaimer” on the boundary, saying the use of Kosovo ID cards is enabled for “practical reasons and freedom of movement,” and does not mean Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo or its future status.

However, he said the Serbian car registration plates that many Kosovo Serbs still use remains an unresolved issue.

Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by Washington and most EU countries, while Serbia has relied on support from Moscow and China for its bid to retain the former province. Belgrade lost control over Kosovo in 1999 after NATO bombed the country to stop its brutal crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatist rebels.

For several years, the EU has mediated negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia, seeking to normalize their relations and move forward their efforts to join the European Union.

NATO peacekeepers have stepped up their presence in northern Kosovo in response to the increased tensions.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Evelyn Knapp, a supporter of former President Donald, waves to passersby outside of Trump's Mar-a-L...
Associated Press

Trump legal woes force another moment of choosing for GOP

From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his first presidential campaign, a searing question has hung over the Republican Party: Is this the moment to break from Donald Trump?
1 day ago
FILE - The Silicon Valley Bank logo is seen at an open branch in Pasadena, Calif., on March 13, 202...
Associated Press

Army of lobbyists helped water down banking regulations

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Red-state Democrats facing grim reelection prospects would join forces with Republicans to slash bank regulations — demonstrating a willingness to work with President Donald Trump while bucking many in their party.
1 day ago
FILE - This Sept. 2015, photo provided by NOAA Fisheries shows an aerial view of adult female South...
Associated Press

Researchers: Inbreeding a big problem for endangered orcas

People have taken many steps in recent decades to help the Pacific Northwest's endangered killer whales, which have long suffered from starvation, pollution and the legacy of having many of their number captured for display in marine parks.
2 days ago
FILE - Hiring signs are displayed at a grocery store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Jan. 13, 2023. Emp...
Associated Press

Pay transparency is spreading. Here’s what you need to know

U.S. employers are increasingly posting salary ranges for job openings, even in states where it’s not required by law, according to analysts with several major job search websites.
2 days ago
Meadowdale High School 9th grade students Juanangel Avila, right, and Legacy Marshall, left, work t...
David Klepper and Manuel Valdes, Associated Press

Seattle high school teacher advocates for better digital literacy in schools

Shawn Lee, a high school social studies teacher in Seattle, wants to see lessons on internet akin to a kind of 21st century driver's education, an essential for modern life.
2 days ago
South Carolina Senators hear from the parents of people who died from fentanyl overdose on Jan. 19,...
Associated Press

With overdoses up, states look at harsher fentanyl penalties

State lawmakers nationwide are responding to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history by pushing harsher penalties for possessing fentanyl and other powerful lab-made opioids that are connected to about 70,000 deaths a year.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
EU official says Serbia, Kosovo agree on IDs in step forward