“Overall, I doubt there`s still much left of the deal,” Bieber concluded. And it seems that the agreement between that country and Kosovo, signed on 4 September at the White House in the presence of US President Donald Trump and hailed as an important contribution to the stability of the Western Balkans, will not change anything. Thirdly, Kosovo`s agreement to join the “mini-Schengen area” has no practical value. Formally, there is no entity like the Schengen mini-zone – this is something fictitious. The so-called “Schengen mini-zone” refers to nothing more than the rhetorical support of Albania, North Macedonia and Serbian leaders (who met three times in Novi Sad, Ohrid and Durres between October and December 2019) to draw up plans that would facilitate cross-border movements and the movement of goods between the countries concerned. Therefore, if no concrete steps are taken to formalize such cooperation plans, Kosovo`s commitment to join the “Schengen mini-zone” will not contribute much to the normalization of its economic relations with Serbia. Overall, what was signed on September 4 in the Oval Office was clearly short-term to serve Trump`s re-election and did not reflect any form or long-term commitment by the White House to advancing the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. The Trump administration hailed the deal as “historic” and a “big breakthrough” – it`s actually neither historic nor breakthrough. The “deal” is based on a wrong logic and will not carry much water after the November elections, regardless of the results. If Washington is truly committed to advancing the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, it should work in close coordination with the EU and, as Edward Joseph, a Johns Hopkins Balkan foreign policy expert, briefly points out, put pressure on the four NATO and EU members that do not recognize Kosovo (Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain) for them to do so.
Such a step would pave the way for Kosovo`s accession to NATO (Pristina`s accession to the UN is not possible due to the Chinese and Russian veto in the Security Council), would create a level playing field for negotiations with Belgrade, given that the current scope is strongly skewed in favour of the latter. and would ultimately pave the way for a comprehensive political agreement between the two neighbours. To implement the agreement, both countries must amend the relevant legislation. Either may have to amend their constitutions. Questions must be made public, Members must take a stand. The early signs are not encouraging. Kosovo`s assembly approved the deal after a tough night meeting, with furious denunciations from the opposition Vetëvendosje (self-determination) party, whose supporters gathered outside the legislature. The Serbian parliament refused to vote on the agreement itself, claiming that it is a recognition of Kosovo; Instead, it approved the government`s report on the negotiations.
Previous technical agreements between the two parties are suspended on appeal to the Serbian Constitutional Court on the grounds that the government has been unduly modified by decree issues that must be regulated by law. On Monday, both sides said the US deal could “make a useful contribution” to the future comprehensive dialogue. The two sides agreed to implement the rail and motorway agreements from February, as well as to open and manage the Merdare common crossing point. .