The new government of Kosovo announced that it will lift all trade barriers it put in place against Serbia. The government is doing this in a bid to reopen EU-brokered talks on normalizing ties with Serbia. Some form of sanctions have been in place since November 2018, when the then prime-minister Ramush Haradinaj imposed them in a response to Serbia’s “de-recognition” campaign against Kosovo.
However, prime-minister Avdullah Hoti stressed in a press conference that the decision could be quickly reversed if Serbia refused to end the de-recognition campaign against Kosovo. The press conference was one of the first tasks Hoti performed as prime-minister after his appointment a week ago. Hoti was elected in an extraordinary session of the Kosovo Assembly where a new coalition government led by the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) (of which Hoti is the leader) with 61 votes in favor, 24 votes against and one person abstaining. With 61 being a majority, the motion of electing the government was passed in a single vote. Right after his appointment Hoti stated that the new government will undertake its constitutional responsibilities to lead negotiations with Serbia. One way to start these talks was to lift the tariff bans imposed on Serbia, because Serbia has repeatedly stated that it would not negotiate with Kosovo as long as the tariffs were in place.
After the announcement, Serbian president Vucic confirmed that EU special envoy Miroslav Lajcak was expected to visit both Serbia and Kosovo after Serbia’s parliamentary elections on the 21st of June. Lajcak wrote on twitter “I welcome today’s decision of the government of Kosovo to remove the recent reciprocity measures. The swift removal of obstacles to the resumption of the EU-facilitated Dialogue shows a clear commitment of Kosovo to get back to the table without delay.”
Sources: AA / Radio Free Europe 1 / Radio Free Europe 2 / European Western Balkans