Stano: Bislimi’s behavior towards EU officials, unacceptable

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The behavior of Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister, Besnik Bislimi, towards European Union officials is unacceptable, bloc spokesman Peter Stano said on Thursday.

“We hope that Mr. Bislimi will appreciate the efforts, instead of baselessly accusing EU officials. Such behavior is unacceptable,” Stano said.

On Wednesday, Bislimi said he rejected an invitation from Brussels to discuss the issue of the Serbian dinar ban in Kosovo and accused the EU’s special envoy for dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Miroslav Lajčák, of violating principles.

By sending this invitation, Bislimi said Lajčák had violated “the principles he himself has set”, as, according to him, “it is the first time he has set a meeting without prior agreement with the parties and has tried to set the agenda despite the principles he set in 2021, where no issue is placed on the agenda without the agreement of the parties”.

Stano confirmed that the EU had invited Kosovo and Serbia to discuss the dinar issue at a meeting on February 27.

However, the envoy’s invitation did not specify which party should participate in the meeting invited by him for February 27.

“We usually do not comment on exchanges with our partners. However, the invitation through the letter from special envoy Lajčák did not specify who should represent Kosovo and who Serbia, this was left for the parties to decide,” Stano said.

He explained that the invitation was made after separate meetings the EU’s high representative, Joseph Borrell, had with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Munich, Germany, last week, where the dinar issue was discussed, according to him.

The new regulation of the Central Bank of Kosovo (CBK) – which provides for the euro as the sole currency in Kosovo for cash transactions – came into force on February 1.

Stano said the EU is making efforts to find a solution to the problem created by “the coordinated decision of one party, which was not communicated beforehand to the affected population.”

He reiterated the position that the decision of the Central Bank of Kosovo will have a “serious impact” on the Serbian population in Kosovo and other communities, especially those receiving financial assistance from Serbia.

“The EU and member states were very clear in their reactions to this counterproductive decision, and that this issue should be resolved within the framework of dialogue,” Stano stressed.

“Non-constructive behavior by Kosovo authorities, failure, and lack of commitment only distance Kosovo from its European perspective,” he warned.

Previously, the European Union called for the issue of the regulation of the Central Bank of Kosovo for cash operations to be discussed within the framework of the normalization of relations.

Similarly, banking authorities in Serbia have called for this issue to be included in the dialogue in Brussels, not accepting Kosovo’s request to negotiate directly with the Central Bank of Kosovo on this matter.

The Serbian state allocates millions of euros to Serbs in Kosovo as it pays them – through a parallel system – salaries, pensions, and additional aid.

On February 20, in certain places in Graçanica, Serbian citizens were unable to receive social assistance and child benefits at the post office, which operates according to the Serbian system, because employees told them they had no money to pay these benefits.

Also, on February 21, a group of teachers in North Mitrovica protested in front of the Serbian Post Savings Bank as they did not receive their salaries.

Belgrade has harshly criticized the regulation of the CBK, interpreting it as the aim of the Kosovo Government to expel Serbs.

The CBK regulation has also been criticized by the international community, which has said that the decision was made without prior consultations and without taking into account the impact on the Serbian community.

The United States has requested Kosovo to postpone the implementation of the decision, arguing that failure to comply with this request only affects the quality of relations between Washington and Pristina.

The CBK has said that the decision will be implemented through a transitional phase of no more than three months.

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