19 November 2013
Sean Parramore, a PhD candidate from the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London recently had an article published in the 9-10 November Weekend Edition of the NRC Handelsblad, a Dutch national newspaper with a circulation of roughly 280,000 papers (range: 830,000 people).
An English translation of the article can be found below.
Elections North Kosovo
‘The EU should involve all actors’
The ‘historical’ municipal elections in the predominantly northern part of Kosovo on the 3rd of November have failed. This was evident from the numerous incidents of intimidation by Serbian ‘extremists’ and a big masked robbery on a polling station in Mitrovica. According to Kosovan prime minister Hashim Thaci these were “isolated incidents (that) won’t have a decisive impact”, while EU election observers reported that the violence and intimidation had led to a low turnout. Yet the crux of municipal elections is to be able to vote safely, irrespective of voting turnout. Neither Thaci nor the EU has an interest in making such a conclusion in this case: it would undermine the foundations of the EU-mediated agreement that was concluded between the governments of Kosovo and Serbia in April. Auspicious municipal elections in North Kosovo were an essential element of this ‘Brussels agreement’, which aims to end the division of Kosovo and to bring both countries closer to EU membership. The mutual fear that Serbians and Albanians have shared over the past 14 years was, however, not sufficiently accounted for, since they were not represented at the negotiation table. Every Brussels-made solution risks being boycotted as long as North-Kosovans are not co-deciding on their own fate. The EU ought to include ‘Serbian extremists’ in a political solution.