Ivanov: The Brussels Agreement failed because its purpose has not been fulfilled

Helena Ivanov
Source: Kosovo Online

Scientific collaborator at the Henry Jackson Research Center Helena Ivanov assessed for Kosovo Online on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the signing of the agreement in Brussels between Belgrade and Pristina that the Brussels Agreement failed because its purpose has not been fulfilled, reminding that the purpose of the agreement was to find a compromise solution between the two sides, which did not happen.

"Unfortunately, I think very little of the Brussels Agreement has been implemented in practice. We can freely say that the purpose of the Brussels Agreement simply has not been fulfilled, and in a way, that agreement has essentially failed. On one hand, Serbs have left institutions, and on the other hand, the CSM has not been formed. Although it seems like some steps are being taken to fulfill the things agreed upon in the Brussels Agreement, it seems to me that in practice, we are still far from addressing the key issues that the Brussels Agreement was supposed to solve," Ivanov said.

She emphasizes that even the relationship between people living in Kosovo is not good.

"We see that tensions are often very high, we see that there have been several rounds of escalation, from license plates to Banjska. Simply put, the situation in Kosovo has not substantively improved in any way. So, unfortunately, I would assess that the Brussels Agreement, as well as all other agreements, Ohrid, and then again Brussels, have not yet been implemented in practice and that the situation is far from ideal," Ivanov stresses.

She reminds that the point of the Brussels Agreement was to somehow find a compromise solution between the two sides, which, as she emphasizes, was not an easy task from the start because, as she said, "Serbia and Kosovo are two sides with completely opposing interests."

"On one hand, Kosovo wants absolute independence and sovereignty, and on the other hand, Serbia refuses to recognize independence and grant sovereignty to Kosovo. So, finding something that could be a common solution that suits everyone has been difficult from the start, and I believe that great hopes were placed in the Brussels Agreement, and the fact that the Brussels Agreement was signed was a sign of optimism that such a solution was found, and I fundamentally believe that if those provisions have been fulfilled, things would now be much better in Kosovo and in Serbia. I believe that Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo would live better, and I believe that relations between these two ethnicities would also be much better," Ivanov said.

She believes that fulfilling the Brussels Agreement would lead to a better situation, however, she reminds that things have changed in the meantime.

"Now, from this distance, after 11 years of non-fulfillment, after all the escalations we have seen, after all the obstacles to normalize relations that we have seen, the question is whether fulfilling everything that the Brussels Agreement envisaged would be sufficient, or whether additional steps would be needed to correct all the bad things that have happened in the past 11 years," she concluded.