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Kosovo Serbs announce withdrawal from state institutions

Representatives of the Serb minority in Kosovo announced their withdrawal from state institutions in the dispute over the necessity of installing Kosovar metal plates. The leader of the main minority party, Goran Rakic, announced yesterday that all Kosovo Serbs will withdraw from the parliament, the government and the administration.

The background to this is the commitment that has been in place since the beginning of November to attach license plates from the Republic of Kosovo to cars. Members of the Serb minority of about 40,000 in northern Kosovo do not recognize Pristina’s authority, and remain mostly loyal to the government in Belgrade. As a result, thousands continue to drive cars with Serbian license plates.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade still considers it a breakaway province and does not recognize it as a separate state. Both Serbia and Kosovo aspire to join the European Union. Serbia has been granted candidate status and has been negotiating accession to the European Union since 2014. The European Union classifies Kosovo as a “potential candidate”.

Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, warns

The European Union expressed its concern after the withdrawal announcement. Withdrawal “is not a solution to the current differences.” Instead, it has the potential to “further exacerbate domestic tensions,” said Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy coordinator. He urged both sides to “refrain from unilateral measures that may lead to more tensions.”

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