EU for northern Kosovo Michael Giffoni said that more EU presence is needed in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica.
“A feeling of some kind of division is very evident in (Kosovska) Mitrovica, and that is something that the EU does not like. In this part of the country, more than in other parts, there is a need to support dialogue and mediation,” Giffoni said.
Since 1999, the town has been ethnically divided by the Ibar River into northern, mostly Serb, and southern, ethnic Albanian parts.
Now the Italian diplomat said that the situation in Kosovska Mitrovica was difficult, but that it was a challenge for EU’s mission in Kosovo, EULEX, and the European Commission.
“Some questions, such as the status, should not be dramatized, rather, a pragmatic approach and tone should be implemented for everyday problems,” Giffoni, who has also been appointed as Italy’s ambassador to Priština, said.
He said that the goal of the EU in Kosovo is to be “closer to the people and to promote European values by introducing the rule of law through EULEX”.
“It is now important to explain that the goals of the EU in the north and south, along with the entire Western Balkans, are the same: to have a European perspective be more familiar to regular people,” he said.
Giffoni said that the European perspective of the Western Balkans was the “solution for Serbia and Kosovo, and the goals that are clearly defined do not only stand for the north, but also other parts of Kosovo”.
“There is no doubt that reconciliation and joint progress are the only solution for all nations that live in the Western Balkans. We hope that this will happen sooner, rather than later,” Giffoni stressed.