Croatian, Albanian PMs call for measures against Serbia over violence in Kosovo

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Monday strongly condemned the violence committed by Serbian paramilitary units in the north of Kosovo, as well as their “heroization” by Belgrade, calling for measures by the EU and the West against Serbia because of it.

About thirty heavily armed members of Serbian paramilitary units killed a Kosovo police officer in the village of Banjska in the north of Kosovo on Sunday, 24 September. Kosovo security forces eliminated three Serbian attackers, because of which Belgrade declared a day of mourning.

During an official visit to Zagreb, Rama told a news conference in the Croatian government building that the aggression of the paramilitary forces is as worrying as Belgrade’s reaction.

“We have a crime, the murder of a police officer, and we have the heroization of those who committed it,” said the Albanian prime minister, stressing that this should not be acceptable in Europe, which has opposite values.

Plenkovic stressed that these moves “cannot remain unanswered” and that Belgrade’s decision to declare a day of mourning “almost implies identification with what happened”. He underlined that an investigation will follow in order to fully determine what happened, after which the EU’s special envoy for dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade will make proposals for measures.

The European Commission can also adopt measures autonomously, without the consent of all member states, just as it did against Kosovo a few months ago. Due to non-compliance with the EU’s demands, the EC took measures against Kosovo, suspending work in the working bodies within the framework of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, withdrawing invitations to high-level meetings and suspending Kosovo from its €7.5 billion program.

Plenkovic emphasized that he is confident that the measures will be taken, and Rama called for applying them “without delay” because, he said, Belgrade’s decision on the day of mourning leaves no room for a different interpretation.