After Kosovo Special Police Force (ROSU) opened fire at unarmed Serbian civilians in Northern Kosovo on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, a few days before the local election, two people were heavily injured, and eight were provided medical assistance. An older woman, Verica Djelic age 71, died from the tear gas the members of Kosovo special police (ROSA) fired off her house

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called last Wednesday for an immediate end to the violence. “Unilateral and uncoordinated actions that endanger stability are unacceptable,” Borrell said on Twitter.  

On the same day, the Spokespersons of the White House National Security Council and the State Department told The Pavlovic Today, “The United States urges calm in response to the events in Kosovo today. We will continue to work with EU and NATO partners to help all parties maintain progress in normalizing relations and reducing tensions.

Today, a week later, on October 20, 2021, a joint statement issued by the United States and the EU addressed the countries of the Western Balkans. At the same time, Blinken and Borell introduced political bothsidesism a week after Kosovo Special Police Force opened fire at the Serbian civilians.

While the US and the EU stress “the importance of the EU-facilitated Dialogue as the key mechanism to address the comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo,” there was no mention of the violation of the Brussels Agreement on behalf of the Kosovo Albanians and Albin Kurti during the violent events on Wednesday, October 13.

The Brussels Agreement stipulates that there should be a police region in Northern Kosovo that reflects the ethnic composition of the population of Serbs and that it will be in charge of police operations in the North. There is also a unit of ROSU in Northern Kosovo. By sending ROSU from Pristina to Northern Kosovo, the ethnic structure has been violated and thereby the Brussels Agreement.

Provision 9 in the Brussels Agreement: There shall be a Police Regional Commander for the four northern Serb majority municipalities (Northern Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic). The Commander of this region shall be a Kosovo Serb nominated by the Ministry of Interior from a list provided by the four mayors on behalf of the Community/Association. The composition of the KP in the North will reflect the ethnic composition of the population of the four municipalities. (There will be another Regional Commander for the municipalities of Mitrovica South, Skenderaj and Vushtrri). The regional Commander of the four northern municipalities will cooperate with other regional commanders.

The Brussels Agreement

Political Bothsidesism Ushered By Blinken And Borell

In their statement on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, Blinken and Borell called for the calm and de-escalation but at the same time introduced political bothsidesism a week after the violence against Serbian civilians took place.

After the recent weeks of tension in the north of Kosovo, we encourage both parties to engage in continued and sustained de-escalation and avoid actions that threaten stability,” the statement reads. “We welcome and support Kosovo’s engagement to fight corruption and organized crime, and we reiterate that violence against civilians, journalists, police, or other authorities is unacceptable.”

The new bothsidesism in response to the violent events where an older woman, a civilian, died, and ten were injured is unfair and does not acknowledge the Serbian civilians’ suffering or mention what happened to them. Especially as Borell initially acknowledged “violent incidents” and called “unilateral and uncoordinated actions” on behalf of the Kosovo Albanians “unacceptable.” 

According to a doctor Zlatan Elek Kosovo Special Police Force ( ROSU)  shot one Serbian civilian in the back, in the area of the right shoulder blade, which the doctor said was completely broken. The patient’s rib was completely broken, and his blood vessels in the neck were damaged. He underwent a surgery in the hospital in Mitrovica, the doctors took the bullet out, and he was placed in intensive care. Another civilian, according to doctor Elek came in with chest injuries.

According to the doctor, injured Serbian civilians had injuries from rubber bullets, tear gas, and “shock bombs.”

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on October 14, 2021. (Photo by Freddie Everett)
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on October 14, 2021. (Photo by Freddie Everett)

Following the recent meeting between Secretary Blinken and High Representative Borrell, the United States and the EU agreed to strengthen further their joint engagement in the Western Balkans in support of the region’s progress on its European path, which is a positive step. Still, political bothsidesism puts on an equal moral ground Serbian minority population in the North of Kosovo and the Kosovo special police force who open fire on them on Wednesday, October 13. 

Blinken and Borell support the EU’s enlargement process and EU accession of the Western Balkans. “This region belongs in the European Union,” they say in the statement. “Closer integration will enhance stability and contribute to prosperity for the people of the region. In this context, we stress that accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should start without delay.”

On Bosnia and Herzegovina, Blinken and Borell said that “the United States and the European Union are united in their firm support for the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in their joint work to promote electoral and constitutional reform and maintain the functionality of its state institutions.” 

They added that they “have serious concerns about increasingly divisive rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” In the joint statement, the US and the EU “call on all parties to respect and protect state institutions, resume constructive dialogue, and take steps to advance progress on the EU integration path – including on relevant reforms. The EU and the United States stand ready to facilitate these steps.”

Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...