BIRN Fact Check: What will the Serbia-Kosovo energy deal achieve?

One of the most important points of the agreement is that the Kosovo Energy Regulatory Office, an independent body that regulates activities in the energy sector, is obligated to give a license to Drustvo Elektrosever.

Drustvo Elektrosever will provide distribution services, such as invoicing, payment collection, maintenance and physical connection to new customers in the four northern Serbian-majority municipalities. Residents of these municipalities have not paid anything for electricity since the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999, when Serbia lost control of its former province.

The role of Drustvo Elektrosever was actually agreed upon in 2013 and the company was set up under Kosovo law, but it was not yet licensed to operate.

The “roadmap” did not set any deadline for issuing the license, but the Energy Regulatory Office confirmed that on Friday it would review Drustvo Elektrosever’s request to supply northern Kosovo with power.

Violetta Hakcholi of the Democratic Institute of Kosovo, a Pristina-based think tank that monitors dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, told BIRN Hat that the agreement on energy signed in Brussels on Tuesday “is actually an old one.”

Haxholli also argued that it “contradicts the free market of which fair competition is at its core.

This agreement allows only one energy company, which must be Serbian, to obtain a license. Therefore, Serbia imposes its company in the north, and Kosovo acts only as a notary of the license.

However, Dragisa Megacic, director of the Belgrade-based Institute for Regional Economic Development, said the situation is more complex than it initially appears.

“Unless it is written in the agreement and can be seen between the lines, [is that] Elektrosever will not be an independent operator but will act as a subcontractor to KEDS, the operator of Kosovo.”

He said the “road map” is a “step forward” and “a step towards appeasement, especially in the energy field.”

The Kosovo government has allocated a huge amount of money [in the past] To pay for electricity in northern Kosovo,” said Miacic.

“This was, in a way, a huge concession to the government of Kosovo, and all in the hope that the government of Kosovo would be more positive afterwards in terms of creating the Federation of Serb Municipalities,” he added.

The creation of the Association of Serbian Municipalities to represent Kosovo’s Serb minority was long agreed upon at talks between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels, but not yet established, and Kosovo politicians often expressed fears that it would turn into a sort of Serb. A small state then threatens Kosovo’s unity and sovereignty, sometimes comparing it to the Serb-majority entity in Bosnia, Republika Srpska.

Kosovo gets access to major power facility

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