The European Union (EU) has expressed concern over the latest decision of the local authorities in North Mitrovica, under which the staff of the institutions administered by Belgrade have to vacate the building where they have been working for years. The EU said that such a decision was contrary to the efforts towards de-escalating the situation in North Kosovo.
EU spokesman Peter Stano told Pristina portal Express on Aug. 24, that the EU was concerned over the latest decision of the local authorities in North Mitrovica, comprised of ethnic Albanians since the April elections, ordering four institutions run by the Serbian Government to “vacate” the building within three days, which the local authorities had justified with “some planned works the municipality will execute in certain municipal buildings.”
“We are concerned about the implications for the security situation of the recent decisions taken by the North Mitrovica administration on the use of public and municipal spaces and buildings, which, among other things, request from the entities managed by Serbia to vacate their premises unless they provide the requested documentation within a short deadline,” Stano said.
Stano also said that the EU “was very clear” that the April elections for mayors of four municipalities in North Kosovo had not offered a long-term political solution due to a very low turnout, that is, the boycott of the Serbs. Therefore, Stano added, “it is important to as soon as possible organize inclusive local elections in which Kosovo Serbs will participate without preconditions.”
The staff of the four Belgrade-run institutions in North Mitrovica have to vacate their premises until Aug. 25. Their forceful removal from the building with police assistance could trigger new escalations in North Kosovo, rather than contribute to reducing tensions and ending the several-month crisis.