Community of Serb municipalities, Kosovo
Location of the Association of Serb municipalities within Kosovo.
|Predecessor||Assembly of the Community of Municipalities (2008-2013)|
Leposavić / Leposaviq
Zvečan / Zveçan
Štrpce / Shtërpcë
Klokot / Kllokot
Gračanica / Graçanicë
Novo Brdo / Novobërdë
Ranilug / Ranillug
The Community of Serbian municipalities (Serbian: Заједница српских општина / Zajednica Srpskih Opština; Albanian: Asociacion i komunave serbe) is an association of municipalities with Serb majority in Kosovo,[a] which is expected to be created in 2015.
The association came as a result of the 2013 Brussels Agreement signed by the governments of Kosovo and Serbia. Its assembly will have no legislative authority and the judicial authorities will be integrated and operate within the Kosovo legal framework.
The Community was initially formed as the Association of Serb Municipalities and Settlements of Kosovo and Metohija (Zajednica srpskih opština i naselja Kosova i Metohije) in February 2003 in Mitrovica, as an association of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo and was considered illegitimate by the Albanian authorities of Kosovo, as it exercised legislative and executive authority over its territory, mostly in North Kosovo, through its Assembly. After the Brussels Agreement it was reformed as the Community of Serbian municipalities and its Assembly holds no legislative authority any more, having only a "full overview power in the areas of economic development, education, health, urban and rural planning" in accordance with the European Charter of Local Self-Government and Kosovo law.
Its formation is predicted by the Brussels Agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. This agreement represents an important step in process of accession of Serbia to the European Union. By this agreement, it was also agreed that Serbia will not block accession of Kosovo to the European Union and vice versa. This agreement was also praised by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said that it guarantees broad powers to municipalities with Serb majority in Kosovo. The Community includes these municipalities: North Kosovska Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, Leposavić, Zvečan, Štrpce, Klokot-Vrbovac, Gračanica, Novo Brdo, Ranilug and Parteš. In one interview for Radio Television of Kosovo, Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi said that the establishment of an Association of Serb municipalities is in essence acceptable by the Constitution of Kosovo and Ahtisaari Plan, while the AAK party leader Ramush Haradinaj supported this by saying that the Constitution of Kosovo allows the association of municipalities, but without holding legislative, judicial or executive power.  In November 2014, Ljubomir Marić, one of the co-ordinators with the duty of establishing the Community of Serb Municipalities stated that it would be based on the South Tyrol model in Italy and that he expected to establish two more Serb municipalities in Gora and Prilužje.
The association would include these municipalities: North Kosovska Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, Leposavić, Zvečan, Štrpce, Klokot, Gračanica, Novo Brdo, Ranilug and Parteš. The correct number of the population is unknown, due to the boycott by north municipalities in the 2011 Kosovo census. However, the population ranges between 70-120,000 people (by estimates).
There are seven municipalities in Kosovo with an ethnic Serb majority. The Albanian population in these municipalities range between 30-50% in the mainland Kosovo, with a majority in Novo Brdo, Štrpce and Klokot, and over 20% in Gračanica. However, after the independence declared in 2008 and the crisis in North Kosovo from 2011-2013, the Albanian population in the area moved to other Albanian-majority cities such as in Mitrovica and others, leaving an absolute majority Serb population in the northern cities. Other ethnic groups include Bosniaks, Gorani, Roma and others.
|Novo Brdo/Artanë||3,112||46.4||3,524||52.4||83||1.2||6,729||2011 Census|
|North Mitrovica||22,530||76.6||4,900||16.6||2,000||6.8||29,430||Estimate (OSCE)|
|Zubin Potok||13,900||93.3||1,000||6.7||14,900||Estimate (OSCE)|
|Community of Serb municipalities||91,161||80.9||17,649||15.7||3,829||3.4||112,639|
Largest cities or towns in Kosovo
North Kosovska Mitrovica
|1||North Kosovska Mitrovica||District of Mitrovica||22,000||
|2||Leposavić||District of Mitrovica||20,600|
|3||Zvečan||District of Mitrovica||17,000|
|4||Gračanica, Kosovo||District of Pristina||11,006|
|5||Zubin Potok||District of Mitrovica||8,479|
|6||Štrpce||District of Ferizaj||6,913|
|7||Novo Brdo||District of Pristina||6,720|
|8||Ranilug||District of Pristina||3,785|
|9||Parteš||District of Gjilan||2,865|
|10||Klokot||District of Gjilan||2,556|
Criticisms in the Albanian community
The Brussels agreement between Belgrade and Pristina was criticized by representatives of Albanians in south Serbia as they believe that the Brussels agreement gives Serbs in Kosovo autonomy, and thus warrants a similar level of autonomy for the three Serbian municipalities, in Serbia proper, which have an Albanian majority.  The radical Albanian nationalist party Vetëvendosje! has also staged violent protests against the agreement, as they believe that an autonomous Serb region within Kosovo would cripple the country's sovereignty and cement ethnic partition.
Criticisms in the Serbian community
The Brussels agreement has been criticized by the Democratic Party of Serbia which argued that it makes no mention of Serbia or its Constitution and laws, or UN Security Council Resolution 1244, while it does mention the Kosovo Constitution and laws, and therefore demanded a referendum on it. The Serbian Orthodox Church has called the agreement "a complete withdrawal of Serbia's institutions from the territory of its southern province and setting up limited autonomy of the Serb community in the area to the north of the Ibar bridge in Mitrovica within Hashim Thaçi's establishment". Serbs in Northern Kosovo have also rallied against the agreement, and in support of the Assembly's continued rule in the Serb-majority municipalities.
- North Kosovo
- Joint Council of Municipalities (in Croatia)
- Alliance of Serb municipalities (in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Assembly of the Community of Serbian municipalities
- Brussels Agreement
Notes and References
- Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.
- . inserbia.info. 2013-11-20 http://inserbia.info/today/2013/11/community-of-serb-municipalities-in-kosovo-to-be-formed/. Retrieved 2014-03-30. Missing or empty
- "Brussels Agreement 2013: Key number 10: "The judicial authorities will be integrated and operate within the Kosovo legal framework..."".
- "ODLUKA IZ BRISELA". Heinrich Böll Foundation. 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- "Danas sjednica Vijeća sigurnosti o Kosovu". Al Jazeera Balkans. 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- ""South Tyrol model for Serb municipalities"". B92. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "ECMI: Minority figures in Kosovo census to be used with reservations". ECMI.
- . ECMI Kosovo, 2011 http://www.ecmikosovo.org/wp-content/Publications/Policy_briefs/2012-12_ECMI_Kosovo_Policy_Brief_-_Minority_Communities_in_the_2011_Kosovo_Census_Results_Analysis_and_Recommendations/eng.pdf. Missing or empty
- "OSCE Leposavic estimates". OSCE.
- "OSCE Mitrovica North estimate". OSCE.
- "OSCE - Partes (2011 Census)". OSCE.
- "2011 Census: Strpce/Shtërpcë (OSCE)".
- "OSCE Zubin Potok estimate". OSCE.
- "OSCE Zvecan estimates". OSCE.
- "Albanci iz Doline" (in Serbian). Peščanik. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "DSS demands referendum and resignations". B92. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- "Church criticizes Brussels agreement". B92. 22 April 2-13. Retrieved 10 December 2013. Check date values in:
- "Serbs in north say no to Kosovo agreement". B92. 22 April 2-13. Retrieved 10 December 2013. Check date values in: