Macron, Scholz call for fresh elections in Kosovo
The leaders of Kosovo and Serbia met on the sidelines of a gathering of the European Political Community in Moldova.
BULBOACA, Moldova — French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for fresh elections in several disputed Kosovo districts on Thursday amid tensions with the area’s Serbian population.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo’s Vjosa Osmani met with Scholz and Macron on the sidelines of a summit of the European Political Community in Moldova.
Kosovo has been rocked by renewed violence after the Kosovar authorities sought to install ethnic Albanian mayors in offices in northern districts. These mayors had been elected with a turnout of less than 4 percent of the vote, after Serbs boycotted the polls.
“There have been in northern Kosovo tensions that were due to the regrettable holding of polls even though the conditions were not fulfilled to guarantee proper process … this led to an escalation of violence,” Macron told reporters.
According to the French president, Osmani and Vučić agreed to consider a plan presented by France and Germany to appease tensions in Kosovo. The plan involves a commitment by Kosovo to hold fresh elections in the contested areas, and a commitment by Serbia to encourage participation in the elections.
The two leaders are expected to hold consultations and respond to the proposal next week, Macron added.
Scholz meanwhile called on both sides to show responsibility. “It’s a very serious situation indeed … We had an intense debate … on the challenges on the ground. It requires courage. All stakeholders need to show courage. Everyone needs to give a contribution, as responsible political leaders,” he said at a press conference.
Earlier in the day, both leaders appeared far from seeking a reconciliation, with Osmani calling on Serbia to stop “destabilizing” Kosovo and Vučić asking Kosovo to withdraw “the illegal mayors.”
Both parties are under intense pressure to resolve the latest in a series of crises between Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian-dominated government and ethnic Serbs who are a majority in the north.