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CrisisWatch Database

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Serbia

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

EU Council 11 Dec declined to open accession talks with Serbia; said talks might begin early 2013, if Belgrade makes progress in normalising relations with Kosovo.

For more information please visit our CrisisWatch database. To learn more about our work in Serbia please visit the specific country page.

  • “Confounding expectations”, Economist, 15 Dec. 2012.
  • Kosovo

      |  1 Dec 2012

    Unchanged

    EU 7 Nov hosted 2nd high-level meeting between Kosovo PM Thaçi and Serbia PM Dačić, following visits to Pristina and Belgrade by U.S. Sec State Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Ashton pushing dialogue. Working groups met, implementation of key “integrated management of crossing points” agreement expected to begin early Dec. Shootings and explosions marred attempts to begin construction of new houses in mixed Mitrovica neighbourhood; UNMIK officials warned construction unauthorised; Serbs attacked Albanian construction workers, at least 8 Serb members of Kosovo Police (KP) refused orders to protect them. Serbian special police 31 Oct arrested Slavoljub Jović aka “Pagi” in Mitrovica, took him across border into Serbia to face trial on charges of firing at KFOR troops in June. Former PM Haradinaj and 2 other ex-KLA commanders acquitted during their retrial at ICTY in The Hague; ruling condemned by Serbs, received with euphoria in Pristina. Tapes of EULEX interceptions of phone conversations by PM Thaçi and other senior officials leaked 29 Nov, condemned as fakes by govt but said to be part of ongoing investigation by EULEX.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Dec 2012

    Unchanged

    SDP and largely Serb League of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) 31 Oct came out with joint political platform, paving way for creation of new state-level coalition comprising SDP, SNSD, League for a Better Future (SBB), Serb Democratic Party, HDZ, HDZ 1990. New coalition promised to move swiftly on constitutional reform and other key priorities, 2 new ministers appointed 22 Nov. SDA promised to block implementation of new platform. Mostar City Council 3 Nov illegally extended its own mandate after failure to hold local election in city in Oct; High Representative Inzko rejected action, warned Council not to act. In 21 Nov statement RS President Dodik called for formation of 3rd, Croat entity within Bosnia. In Federation entity, govt session called off due to lack of quorum, 2013 budget discussion postponed.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Nov 2012

    Unchanged

    Govt 3 Oct survived no-confidence vote. EC progress report for 4th year recommended start of accession negotiations, pending solution to ongoing name dispute with Greece. 5 ethnic Albanians formally charged with April killing of 5 ethnic Macedonians. Tens of thousands marched in Skopje 28 Oct calling for early elections.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Nov 2012

    Unchanged

    PM Thaci and Serbian PM Dačić met in Brussels 19 Oct: discussed continuation of EU-mediated dialogue on normalisation of relations. Dačić told Serbian media no change on Serbia’s position of never recognising independence, but said “time for a historic agreement”, Serbia “ready for final status talks”. Followed 10 Oct resumption of technical dialogue, including implementation of Dec 2011 border management agreement; working groups negotiated implementation action plan 12 Oct. Self-Determination movement protesters opposed to talks clashed with police 22 Oct. EC adopted Feasibility Study for Kosovo, confirmed country largely ready to open negotiations on Stabilisation and Association Agreement. Sporadic violence continued in north; 4 arrested following 7 Oct attack on border checkpoint by terrorist “Movement for Freedom”.

    Serbia

      |  1 Nov 2012

    Unchanged

    EC progress report concluded Serbia continues to fulfil political criteria and conditions of Stabilisation and Association process, but called for “visible and sustainable improvement in relations” with Kosovo. PM Dačić said “upset” that report included request for Serbia to respect Kosovo’s territorial integrity.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Nov 2012

    Unchanged

    In local elections 7 Oct Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA) won 37 municipalities; nationalist Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and its minor coalition partners won 26, up from 13; Republika Srpska president Dodik’s SNSD won only 19, down from 41. Croat HDZ won 13, and HDZ 1990 3. Voter turnout at 56.3%, higher than 2008 polls. Central Election Commission received reports of widespread fraud. Dispute over voting system meant no elections in Mostar. Following elections, predominantly Bosniak SDP expelled rival SDA from state govt, formed new coalition. Annual EC progress report criticised lack of progress on political criteria, institutional reform. U.S. Sec State Clinton urged reforms during late Oct visit.

    Serbia

      |  1 Oct 2012

    Unchanged

    Ahead of European Commission progress report to be published 10 Oct, govt adopted reforms including pledging to implement agreements made earlier in technical talks with Kosovo. European Council president Van Rompuy 4 Sept and EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle 5 Sept urged PM Dačić to step up reform on path to EU membership, open up greater dialogue with Kosovo. Dačić said govt ready to return to talks with Kosovo on substantive political issues. President Nikolić 25 Sept told UNGA Serbia would never recognise independence of Kosovo but committed to “lasting peace between Serbs and Albanians”, called for direct negotiations with Pristina at highest level.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Oct 2012

    Unchanged

    EU 3 Sept expressed disappointment at Bosnia’s failure to meet 31 Aug deadline for addressing European Court of Human Rights Sejdić-Finci ruling, first deadline in June EU Road Map. Meeting in Sarajevo 12 Sept, PM Bevanda and Serbian PM Dačić pledged to build new relationship between countries. Husein ef. Kavazović elected Grand Mufti of Bosnia’s Islamic Community.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Oct 2012

    Unchanged

    Greek, Macedonian FMs 27 Sept discussed name dispute on sidelines of UNGA. Tensions continued within ruling coalition between ethnic-Macedonian VMRO DPMNE and ethnic-Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) over draft armed forces bill, with DUI blocking its passage through parliament. Visiting EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle 17 Sept said tensions negatively affecting EU accession reforms.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Oct 2012

    Unchanged

    International Steering Group 10 Sept ended international supervision of Kosovo independence, ending mandate of International Civilian Representative (ICR) Peter Feith and closing his office; EU rule of law (EULEX) mission extended to June 2014. Some incidents in Serb enclaves; masked gunmen 7 Sept opened fire on EULEX-Kosovo police convoy in Zubin Potok municipality, injuring 1 police officer. Kosovo law enforcement and EULEX made several high profile arrests for extortion and corruption including Pristina Municipal Council chair 12 Sept. PM Thaci 24 Sept confirmed readiness to engage in high level dialogue with Serbia to EU foreign policy chief Ashton.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Sep 2012

    Unchanged

    Opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) 29 Aug announced it would no longer participate in parliamentary commission on electoral, constitutional reform due to failure of Democratic Party to respect 30 April elections agreement. Kosovo Deputy PM Tahiri 12 Aug demanded Serbia implement principles agreed at March 2011 commencement of dialogue, called on EU to break deadlock. Head of UNMIK Zarif 21 Aug requested UNSC support for renewed Serbia, Kosovo talks. Govt 1 Aug announced EULEX mission to end June 2014, transitional period to commence Sept; parliament 31 Aug passed constitutional amendments regarding transition. In N Kosovo, Serbs 23 Aug prevented EULEX from passing barricade at Zupče; EULEX temporarily sealed all roads to Zubin Potok during barricade dismantlement, talks with local officials. UNSG Ban 22 Aug criticised Kosovo police for failing to react to 28 June attack on Serb buses in Priština that injured 16 children. EULEX prosecutors 31 July indicted 8 judges for embezzlement. Govt 18 Aug announced plans to commence Montenegro, Serbia border demarcation process.

    Serbia

      |  1 Sep 2012

    Unchanged

    Parliament 4 Aug passed legislation restricting independence of central bank, 6 Aug confirmed political ally of President Nikolić, Jorgovanka Tabaković, as bank’s head; appointment condemned by EU, U.S. ambassador said process “a failure of the rule of law”.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Sep 2012

    Unchanged

    Ruling coalition member Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) 22 Aug threatened to leave govt if parliament adopts law granting benefits to Macedonian armed forces and not to Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) forces from 2001 conflict. President Ivanov 16 Aug called for investigation of Defence Minister Besimi, other ethnic Albanian ministers for controversially paying respect to NLA fighters 13 Aug; Besimi 22 Aug apologised for causing offence.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Sep 2012

    Unchanged

    Republika Srpska President Dodik 7 Aug refused to participate in govt until FM Lagumdžija resigns for encouraging BiH’s UN representative to support UNSC resolution on Syria without consulting all members of presidency, violating constitution. Govt failed to meet 31 Aug deadline to address 2009 European Court of Human Rights Sejdić-Finci ruling.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Aug 2012

    Unchanged

    UNSG Ban 25 July promised personal engagement in resolving name dispute with Greece; Macedonia 7 July proposed greater cooperation through joint committee, no Greek response. Law suits initiated early-month against President Ivanov, MPs of ruling parties for reinstating provision in new 20 June lustration law; previous version annulled by Constitutional Court in March.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Aug 2012

    Unchanged

    International Steering Group 2 July announced Kosovo achieved preconditions for independence, granted full sovereignty from Sept with closing of International Civilian Office; Serbian President Nikolić 10 July said Kosovo should not expect to control northern Serb-dominated region; Minister of Interior Bajram Rexhepi 23 July promised no new police intervention in the north, but sought integration of region. PM Thaçi 8 July held symbolic meeting with Serbian opposition leader Boris Tadić at Dubrovnik regional summit; Serbian govt boycotted meeting due to Kosovo presence. EU High Representative Ashton 25 July called for resumption of Kosovo-Serbia talks in meeting with PM Thaçi. Deputy PM Kuçi 10 July returned to post after parliament amended disputed legislation causing June resignation. Deputy PM Bukoshi, Deputy Finance Minister Haraqija 9 July resigned amid ongoing corruption investigations. In Mitrovica, municipal building stoned 4 July; opening of govt office 9 July met with protests by locals. 3 armed attacks 18 July targeted Kosovo police officer’s home, radio station, private bank in Serb-controlled Zubin Potok.

    “Steering group grants Kosovo full sovereignty”, RFE/RL, 24 July 2012.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Aug 2012

    Unchanged

    Party for Democratic Action (SDA) 19 July blocked PM Bevanda’s attempt to remove 3 SDA members from govt following June SDA decision to oppose budget and consequent coalition dissolution; SDA leader Sulejman Tihić 16 July said PM should step down as no longer has support of MPs who put him in power. Social Democratic Party (SDP) VP Komšić 23 July resigned over SDP support for implementation of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Sejdić-Finci ruling on ethnic minorities. 13 July inter-party constitutional reform discussions failed to reach agreement. ICTY prosecution 3 July lodged appeal against June dismissal of genocide charge against Radovan Karadžić; District Court 17 July sentenced former Croatian Defence Council member to over 5 years in prison for war crimes in Derventa; Banja Luka district court early-month sentenced former Bosnian Serb policeman to 8 years in prison for 1992 war crimes in Gradiška.

    Serbia

      |  1 Aug 2012

    Unchanged

    Progressive Party, Socialists, United Regions of Serbia 10 July signed coalition agreement; EU accession named priority. Progressive Party 22 July announced 19-member multi-party govt, pledged “zero-tolerance” on corruption, crime. President Nikolić 19 July claimed secret agreements reached by predecessor’s negotiating team on Kosovo helped to “seal Kosovo’s independence”, 23 July sought UN involvement in Kosovo talks, but asked for respect for Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo. During regional visit, U.S. Asst Sec of State Gordon 6 July told Serbia it must accept Kosovo’s independence, called on Serbia to stop supporting illegal security structures in N Kosovo; senior Kosovo govt official 17 July claimed Serbia maintaining police network of hundreds in N Kosovo. Constitutional court 10 July ruled some aspects of law on autonomous northern province Vojvodina unconstitutional. Serbia 10 July indicted 12 people for attack on U.S. embassy during 2008 riots over Kosovo’s independence.

    “EU accession is priority of new Serbian government”, SE Times, 12 July 2012.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Jul 2012

    Unchanged

    Clashes 28 June after Kosovo Albanians attacked Serbs visiting Gazimestan historical site. 2 NATO soldiers, 4 Kosovo Serb protesters injured 1 June in firefight over removal of barricades in N Kosovo. 2 grenades thrown 19 June at KFOR Brjnak crossing barracks in N Kosovo. KFOR 22 June bolstered security in preparation for opening of Kosovo govt office in Serb neighbourhood of Mitrovica. Kosovo nationalist activists 21 June pelted convoy of EU envoy Robert Cooper during protest against “paternalistic” approach of EU. Same day parliament amended legislation to pave way for closure of International Civilian Office. Deputy PM Kuçi 22 June resigned in protest against passage of penal code EU says undermines press freedom. EU 5 June announced extension of EULEX mandate until 2014 at reduced manpower.

    Serbia

      |  1 Jul 2012

    Unchanged

    Socialist leader Dačić 28 June received mandate to form govt, coalition expected with Progressives and United Regions of Serbia. Senior EU diplomat 20 June said de facto Kosovo embassy in Belgrade precondition for EU membership. President Nikolić 2 June denied Srebrenica massacre constituted genocide prompting boycott of presidential inauguration by leaders of other Balkan nations. President Nikolić 15 June asserted he would not oppose normalisation of relations with Kosovo, but would never recognise it as country; Serbia 20 June announced upgrade of next round of dialogue with Priština, with President or PM negotiating directly. Prosecution Office 22 June announced criminal proceedings against 13 prominent figures suspected of helping ICTY war crimes suspects Ratko Mladić, Stojan Župljann evade capture. War crimes court 27 June sentenced 14 ex-soldiers to 4-20 years prison for killing Croatian villagers in 1991.    

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Jul 2012

    Unchanged

    FBiH govt in limbo as 6 party-coalition collapsed 6 June over Bosniak Party for Democratic Action (SDA), Social Democratic Party (SPD) disagreement on budget; SDA refused to withdraw cabinet ministers at state level; SDP seeking to form govt with Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), HDZ 1990 splinter party, Alliance for a Better Future (SBB). EU FMs 25 June expressed concern over impact of political instability on accession process. ICTY 28 June cleared ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of 1 of 2 genocide charges, citing insufficient evidence. Bosnian court 15 June sentenced 4 Bosnian Serb ex-soldiers to record prison sentences for part in Srebrenica massacre; police 21 June detained 2 ex-military commanders in connection with 1995 massacres.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Jul 2012

    Unchanged

    Ethnic Albanian opposition party Democratic Union for Integration leader Ali Ahmeti 13 June called for solution to name dispute after elections in Greece, Macedonia, U.S.. Opposition Democratic Party of Albanians 22 June claimed coalition deal with ethnic Macedonian opposition parties SDSM and VMRO-NP close. Govt 13 June revoked license of critical A2 TV channel.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Jun 2012

    Unchanged

    Coalition govt to split following defection of coalition member Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in 30 April vote finalising 2012 budget; Social Democratic Party 31 May called for SDA to leave coalition. Party leaders made substantial progress towards implementation of agreements on state and defence property, governance of autonomous Brčko district; U.S., UK, Turkey signalled Office of High Representative closure subject to assessment of political situation. Republika Srpska (RS) Serb parliamentary parties 17 May said BiH NATO accession would require referendum in RS. ICTY trial of Ratko Mladić began 16 May on charges of genocide. BiH 22 May announced plans for local elections despite EU refusal to recognise polls due to discrimination against ethnic minorities.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Jun 2012

    Unchanged

    Serbian elections 6, 20 May conducted peacefully; OSCE Chairperson 21 May commended “responsible behaviour on all sides”; 2 N Kosovo municipalities conducted local Serbian elections despite opposition from international community; Priština 8 May condemned local elections as illegal. Kosovo 23 May announced opening of administrative office in North Mitrovica to disburse govt funds; Serbia said move “flagrant provocation”. Serbian presidential elections 20 May passed without violence in N Kosovo; new Serbian President Nikolić 28 May stated Serbia would not recognise Kosovo in return for EU membership. EULEX forces 21 May raided home of N Kosovo Serb businessman Zvonko Veselinović, suspected of links to organised crime, organising riots against EULEX forces; 6 suspected accomplices arrested 30 May. 2 Kosovo Serb houses 23 May set on fire in N Kosovo, police investigating links to Albanian National Army paramilitary group.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Jun 2012

    Unchanged

    Macedonian police 1 May arrested 20 ethnic Albanian “radical Islamists” in connection with April murders of 5 ethnic Macedonians; ethnic Albanians 4, 11 May protested arrests in Skopje. PM Gruevski condemned NATO’s “selective respect of international law” after NATO failed to consider Macedonian accession during Chicago summit due to name dispute; U.S. ambassador Wohlers 31 May stated expectation Macedonia will become NATO member before next summit. Opposition leader Branko Crvenkovski 28 May presented “classified” 2005 UN mediator proposal for name change to “Republika Makedonija”, criticized President Gruevski’s rejection of it; Gruevski 31 May cited proposal’s imprecision on nationality, language.

    Serbia

      |  1 Jun 2012

    Unchanged

    Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader Tomislov Nikolić 20 May defeated incumbent President Tadić in presidential elections. New President same day declared Serbia “will not stray from its European path” in effort to assuage fears over previous links to Milosević and cultivation of ties with Moscow; EU, U.S. encouraged continued dialogue with Kosovo. In first official visit to Moscow President Nikolić 28 May said Serbia would not recognize Kosovo even as requirement for EU membership.

    Serbia

      |  1 May 2012

    Unchanged

    Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović 15 April stated in U-turn that Serbia would not hold 6 May local elections in N Kosovo but appoint local officials instead (see Kosovo). Bogdanović 20 April claimed ethnic Albanian militias in N Kosovo a result of “Priština’s aspirations, through violence and unilateral action” to control N Kosovo (see Kosovo). Serbian authorities 23 April released Kosovo trade union leader Hasan Abazi, detained last month in series of tit-for-tat arrests on both sides of Kosovo-Serbia border.  

    Kosovo

      |  1 May 2012

    Unchanged

    After weeks of wrangling, political hostilities, Kosovo, Serbia and EU 30 April agreed OSCE to organise Serbian parliamentary, presidential elections in N Kosovo for eligible voters; Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić same day claimed to have intelligence Priština planning to attack, sabotage polling stations. EU High Representative Ashton 14 April called on Serbs and Kosovo Albanians to refrain from “selective use of the law” to justify inflammatory arrests following 31 March arrest of 2 Kosovo Police officers on Serbia-Kosovo border by Serbian paramilitary police; arrest allegedly took place inside Kosovo; Kosovo police 23 April arrested 2 Kosovo Serbs, including Serbia’s district chief for Kosovo, for alleged intimidation of Kosovo Serbs regarding 6 May election. Ethnic Albanian 8 April killed in bomb blast outside Mitrovica home. Kosovo police 20 April probed allegations of armed ethnic Albanian militias on patrol in N Kosovo.  

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 May 2012

    Unchanged

    Council of Ministers 18 April approved 2012 budget; EU delegation in Sarajevo welcomed move as “setting up new institutions required for EU-related commitments”. FM Lagumdzija 16 April expressed hopes for NATO accession by 2014; Republika Srpska spokesman said Lagumdžija advocating own views in contravention of Dayton Peace Agreement; NATO 10 April said BiH on track for Membership Action Plan. 

    Macedonia

      |  1 May 2012

    Deteriorated

    Tensions rose dangerously as 5 Macedonians found murdered 12 April outside Skopje; President Ivanov 15 April urged “restraint by all”; Kosovo PM Thaçi 18 April stressed need to avoid regional destabilisation; hundreds of nationalist youths 16 April clashed with police in Skopje demonstration outside Parliament against murders.



    Serbia

      |  1 Apr 2012

    Unchanged

    EU 1 March granted Serbia candidate status. Serbia 13 March announced 6 May parliamentary, provincial, local elections, controversially including N Kosovo in local elections (see Kosovo); Serbian Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović 22 March sent letter to UNMIK requesting agreement for local elections; head of UNMIK Farid Zarif 23 March refused to help organise elections, cited “circumstances on the ground”. Serbian police arrested 4 Kosovo Albanians 28 March, 2 Kosovo policemen 31 March near Serbian border (see Kosovo).

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Apr 2012

    Improved

    Party leaders 9 March reached agreement on disposition of state and defence property, marking fulfilment of terms for closure of Office of High Representative, commencement of NATO’s Membership Action Plan; Republika Srpska President Dodik 14 March threatened referendum on NATO membership. Croat member of Presidency Željko Komšić 19 March resigned from leadership of Social Democratic Party, returned 21 March after party presidency rejected resignation. BiH parliamentary parties 12 March failed to agree constitutional changes demanded by European Court of Human Rights to end discrimination in tripartite Presidency and House of Peoples.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Apr 2012

    Unchanged

    Month saw surge in ethnic tensions: 2 ethnic Albanians 29 Feb shot dead in Gostivar by off-duty police officer, allegedly over parking space; 10,000 ethnic Albanians 1 March protested shooting. Gangs of ethnic youth early March clashed, attacked public buses, 30 arrested; thousands 18 March demonstrated in Skopje against ethnic clashes. Macedonian officials 16 March opened “High-Level Accession Dialogue” with EU, seeking to establish momentum for reform agenda despite stalemate over country’s name.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Apr 2012

    Unchanged

    In midst of Serbian election campaign, Serbian govt 13 March announced inclusion of N Kosovo in 6 May local Serbian elections; but said in concession to international community it will undertake activities in cooperation with UNMIK. Kosovo PM Thaci 14 March said Serbia “provoking open conflict” with Kosovo; Interior Minister Rexhepi 22 March said police preparing operational plan in consultation with EULEX, KFOR to prevent vote; EU 14 March said move violation of UNSC resolution 1244; blacklisted Kosovar Albanian National Army, 17 March threatened to use force if international community failed to prevent elections. Police 28 March arrested 4 Serbs for organising Serbian municipal elections in Kosovo; Serbian police same day arrested 4 Kosovo Albanians on charges of “crimes against the Constitution and security”; Serbian Interior Minister Dačić described action as “reciprocal measures”. Serbia 31 March arrested 2 Kosovo policemen near border; Kosovo Interior Minister Rexhepi said men within Kosovo territory, condemned act as “kidnapping”. Kosovo 15 March walked out of first regional forum with Serbia, citing Serb failure to abide by Kosovo representation agreement; Serbia 22 March called for EU arbitration to settle dispute.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Mar 2012

    Unchanged

    Over 99% of Kosovo Serbs voting in controversial unofficial referendum in North 14-15 Feb rejected sovereignty of Kosovo institutions; turnout estimated at 75%. Serbian President Tadić 14 Feb again criticised referendum as harmful to Serbia’s interests. EU-facilitated Kosovo-Serbia dialogue 24 Feb achieved agreement clearing the way for Kosovo to independently represent itself in regional organisations, made further progress on integrated border management. Kosovo nationalist party Vetëvendosje (Self-Determination) condemned compromise, staged protest 27 Feb outside parliament. KFOR and Serbian police 23 Feb removed barricades at Jarinje and Brnjak in North Kosovo, allowing cars to cross border into Serbia. Kosovo police special units 25 Feb arrested 5 Serbian police officers for “threaten[ing] Kosovo’s legal order” and obstructing police officers. EU Commission 28 Feb promised feasibility study for EU-Pristina Stabilisation and Association Agreement, seen as first step to membership. Parliament 31 Jan adopted resolution calling for end to “internationally supervised independence” at end of 2012. New political coalition Serb Movement of Kosovo, independent of Belgrade, launched in N Kosovo.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Mar 2012

    Unchanged

    UN envoy Nimetz arrived 20 Feb for two-day meeting with President Ivanov, PM Gruevski, and FM Poposki to discuss possible solutions to name dispute with Greece ahead of Brussels meeting between the countries’ leaders 1-2 March. Ivanov 18 Feb wrote letter to NATO leaders urging them to admit Macedonia to alliance despite continued Greek opposition. Visiting OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities 9 Feb voiced concern over recent increase in ethnic tensions. Democratic Party of Albanians, largest ethnic Albanian opposition party, 24 Feb called for resistance against “anti-Albanian” deal on police cooperation between Serbia and Macedonia.

    Serbia

      |  1 Mar 2012

    Unchanged

    EU FMs 28 Feb agreed to recommend EU candidacy; EU leaders to approve decision at Brussels summit 1 March .

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Mar 2012

    Unchanged

    State parliament 10 Feb approved new cabinet, first since Oct 2010 elections; new govt at first session 13 Feb adopted state budget. Republika Srpska (RS) political parties 6 Feb filed motion in parliament to abolish state-level court and prosecutor’s office in response to prosecutor’s decision to drop investigation into wartime atrocities against Serbs. House of Peoples 1 Feb adopted Census Law, permitting start of preparations for 2013 count, first since 1991. Chair of BiH Council of Ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda 21 Feb stated Bosnia expected to fulfil conditions for EU candidate status by end of June. Both chambers of parliament 3 Feb adopted State Aid Law, fulfilling key EU membership condition.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Feb 2012

    Unchanged

    Situation in North calmed as KFOR stopped pressuring local Serbs to lift barricades, Serbs allowed EULEX to pass twice a day. Northern leaders scheduled advisory referendum for Kosovo Serbs mid Feb on whether they acknowledge Kosovo govt institutions, despite request by Belgrade to cancel vote, arguing it will hurt Serbia’s interests, chances of gaining EU candidate status. Dozens injured, including police, and 146 arrested 14 Jan as police tried to disperse protest by Self-Determination party activists near Serbian border, supporting 7 Dec parliamentary motion advocating trade ban with Serbia; further protest 22 Jan. Parliament passed new counter-motion welcoming agreements between Pristina and Belgrade, supporting technical dialogue. International Steering Group 24 Jan set end of 2012 as timeframe for full Kosovo independence, called on Serbia to withdraw security forces personnel; Serbia denied security forces present. EU launched visa liberalisation dialogue with Kosovo.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Feb 2012

    Unchanged

    State presidency 5 Jan named HDZ candidate Vjekoslav Bevanda new PM, approved by parliament 12 Jan; other new ministers named by 6 main parties. Bevanda told parliament priorities would be fulfilling EU demands, improving economic situation, fighting corruption. New dispute emerged within Presidency and acting Council of Ministers over 2011 budget, blocking disbursement of tax proceedings to state institutions and foreign debt repayments; Republika Srpska (RS) repaid its part of foreign debt in apparent violation of law. Parliament 6 Jan agreed to pass law paving way for 2013 census, first since 1991. RS 9 Jan celebrated 20th anniversary of declaration of independence from Bosnia.

    Macedonia

      |  1 Feb 2012

    Unchanged

    New round of UN-mediated talks on name dispute between Macedonia and Greece in New York mid Jan ended without result. Greece sent demarche to Macedonia 26 Jan alleging use of Greek motifs, irredentist content in new triumphal arch in Skopje. Orthodox church near Struga in SW set on fire 30 Jan, in apparent ethnically motivated incident.

    Kosovo

      |  2 Jan 2012

    Unchanged

    At 8th round of EU-brokered talks Kosovo and Serbia 2 Dec reached agreement on Integrated Border Management (IBM); Belgrade later denied deal meant Serbian de facto recognition of Kosovo. Following IBM agreement and late Nov call by Serbian president Tadic to remove barricades, Serbs at Jagnjenica and Jarinje border crossings 5 Dec agreed to remove barricades in return for KFOR removing vehicles blocking roads; however, still no freedom of movement for EULEX, and fresh barricades erected prior to European Council’s 9 Dec delay of decision on Serbia’s EU candidacy (see Serbia). Russian aid convoy 16 Dec delivered goods to Kosovo Serbs after being held up at border for several days over disagreement with EU on how aid delivered. Kosovo Serbs 14 Dec offered to negotiate peace initiative with international peacekeeping officials. Serbia 20 Dec arrested 2 Kosovo Serb brothers, one of whom identified by KFOR as coordinator of recent violence at border, on suspicion of involvement in arms production. In line with agreements reached earlier in year, Serbia 20 Dec started to hand over to Kosovo copies of civil registry books seized in 1999, 26 Dec implemented freedom of movement agreement allowing Kosovo citizens to enter with ID cards, drive vehicles with Kosovo plates and drivers licences. Growing tensions between govt and opposition on issues including trade relations with Serbia, ongoing dialogue. EU appointed outgoing Slovenian FM Samuel Zbogar head of new EU office in Pristina.

    Serbia

      |  2 Jan 2012

    Unchanged

    European Council 9 Dec decided to delay decision on granting Serbia candidate status until March; Council President Van Rompuy said Serbia needs to improve relations with Kosovo. President Tadic claimed Brussels had asked Serbia to recognise Kosovo independence in return for candidacy status; denied by EU.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  2 Jan 2012

    Improved

    Leaders of 6 main parties 28 Dec announced agreement to form state govt, ending 14-month political deadlock following Oct 2010 elections, and resulting in adoption of budget days ahead of 1 Jan deadline which would have seen state institutions shut down, intensified political crisis. New govt to comprise 4 Bosniak ministers, 3 Serbs, 3 Croats. Leaders also reported agreement on laws required for progress on EU membership.

    “Bosnia’s December surprise”, Economist, 30 Dec. 2011.

    Macedonia

      |  2 Jan 2012

    Unchanged

    ICJ 5 Dec found Greece guilty of breaching UN 1995 deal with Macedonia by blocking its NATO membership bid in 2008; did not order Greece to stop blocking Macedonia from joining international organisations in future. European Council 9 Dec again declined to give start date for accession talks with Macedonia.

    Kosovo

      |  1 Dec 2011

    Deteriorated

    Increasing fears over tensions and outbreaks of violence in north Kosovo, as Serbs continue to barricade customs gates with Serbia against Kosovo customs officials. 1 Serb shot dead, 2 wounded including 1 Kosovo Police officer, in clash between ethnic Serbs and Albanians in Brdjani, N Mitrovica 9 Nov. KFOR troops 9 Nov used tear gas against 2 trucks trying to drive into checkpoint near Jarinje, 23 Nov clashed with hundreds of Serbs after attempt to dismantle Serb roadblock in Rudare; 21 KFOR soldiers injured before withdrawing, along with unknown number of Serbs. Dozens of Serbs injured 28 Nov as Serbs tried to prevent KFOR dismantling barricade at Jagnjenica; 25 KFOR troops also injured, including 2 by small-arms fire. KFOR commander Gen Erhard Drews 26 Nov warned over possible escalation of violence. Serbian President Tadic 29 Nov called on Serbs to leave barricades. Serbian interior minister Ivica Dacic 24 Nov said Serbia should be ready for war over north, drawing condemnation from EU, Pristina. Belgrade 18 Nov adopted decree putting in force civil registry agreement agreed in Pristina-Belgrade dialogue. EU-facilitated talks aimed at normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina resumed at 7th round 21-22 Nov after 2-month hiatus. Sides agreed to accept each other’s higher education qualifications and agreed to return to issue of Kosovo’s participation in regional fora at next meeting. No deal on EU-proposed compromise solution for control of Kosovo-Serbia border. 8th round opened 30 Nov.



    Kosovo

      |  1 Dec 2011

    Deteriorated

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

      |  1 Dec 2011

    Unchanged

    13 months after general elections, leaders of 6 main parties again failed to agree on formation of state govt at 17 Nov meeting in Sarajevo and 27 Nov constitutional reform meeting in Italy; main obstacle still dispute between Federation of BiH parties over seats in Council of Ministers. Republika Srpska president Dodik called for future constitution to include mechanism for “peaceful disassociation”. Prospects of meeting Dec deadline to adopt key laws and reforms for progress on EU membership deemed increasingly unlikely, while failure to adopt budget and fiscal framework raising concerns. High Representative Valentin Inzko 15 Nov told UNSC country stagnating due to failure to form govt, adopt budget. 3 more arrests following 28 Oct attack on U.S. embassy.

    “Inzko’s report causes angry reactions in BiH”, SE Times, 17 Nov. 2011.



    Albania

      |  1 Dec 2011

    Unchanged

    Adoption of cross-party consensus in Parliament 17 Nov as lawmakers approved creation of parliamentary commission for electoral reform and passed 2 laws. Followed agreement by ruling DP party and opposition SP 15 Nov on pact addressing major European Commission progress priorities. Move welcomed by EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele as bringing end to 2-year political stalemate, however several issues remain unresolved. Follows Oct European Commission assessment that Albania failed to meet political criteria needed to attain EU candidate status.

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    CrisisWatch N°132

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