Paris and Berlin want to ease tensions. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday called for new elections in disputed municipalities in northern Kosovo, the scene of recent clashes.
"We have asked both parties to organise new elections in these four municipalities as soon as possible," Macron said after a quadripartite meeting with the Serbian and Kosovar presidents in Chisinau, on the sidelines of a summit of the European Political Community.
Kosovar president listening
According to the French president, this request implies a "commitment on the part of Kosovo" and "participation in these elections in a clear way on the part of the Serbian side". Asked shortly afterwards on this point, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani assured that she was "ready to consider" this possibility.
"Clear decisions" were asked to the two leaders "for next week", insisted Emmanuel Macron, also referring to "the priority settlement and without delay of the question of the association of Serbian municipalities on the part of Kosovo". At the same time, the EU's foreign policy chief will bring together ministers from both sides on the association of these Serbian municipalities, Macron added.
"Obviously not a condition of legitimacy"
The French head of state also deplored "the regrettable organization of elections while guarantees of smooth running were not provided" and the election of "four mayors with less than 5% of voters, which is obviously not a condition of legitimacy".
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In recent days, the situation has been very tense in the region, which has been going from crisis to crisis for years. Many members of the majority Serb community in four northern cities do not recognize Pristina's authority and are loyal to Belgrade.
Serbs boycotted the April municipal elections in these localities, resulting in the election of Albanian mayors with a turnout of less than 3.5%. Their inauguration last week by the Kosovar government set fire to the powder.