EC intervenes in dispute over Kosovo telecoms infrastructure

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Serbia claims to have been given an "unfair" ultimatum over Telekom Srbija infrastructure in Pristina

The European Commission has intervened in an attempt to defuse tensions over a telecoms deal between Belgrade and Pristina.

The EU-facilitated action plan for telecoms was one of the agreements on key issues reach between the two countries in August 2015, but a dispute has broken out over infrastructure in Kosovo that was formerly owned by Telekom Srbija.

The deal proposes that telecoms infrastructure, which is located in Kosovo capital city Pristina, is handed over to the Kosovo government. The two countries are also negotiation conditions under which Kosovo will be given an international dialling code,

On 5 October, the director of the office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Đurić said Belgrade has been given until Sunday (9 October) to make a decision about the “grotesque draft agreement on telecommunications.”

Đurić told reporters in the country that in his view, the ultimatum was unacceptable as Serbia cannot forgo its property. He threatened to step down from his post as chief negotiator with Pristina if the government did not back his stance.

“We are asked to give up our property when it comes to telecommunications, and also much worse than that – to agree by foregoing Telekom Srbija’s assets that all of our assets in Kosovo and Metohija are not ours anymore and that they belong to the institutions of the self-proclaimed, illegal, fictitious country in Priština,” says Đurić. 

Intervening in the dispute, EC spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic tried to defuse tensions, saying the dialogue is “not about ultimatums.”

“It is about implementation of the 2013 telecommunications agreement, followed by the 2015 Action Plan, whose implementation is still underway,” Kocijancic told Tanjug's Brussels correspondent when asked to confirm if Belgrade had until October 9 to accept or reject a deal on telecoms in the dialogue with Pristina.

The dispute stems from 2008, when Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Pristina is the largest city and capital of Kosovo.