An agreement to be signed between EULEX and Belgrade, designed to help solve a 'visa problem' for Serbian nationals, apparently became an irritant for Albanian extremists, who overturned 28 SUV cars belonging to the EU mission in the capital Pristina.
Many Albanian Kosovars insisted that it was up to Kosovo, not EULEX, to sign any international agreements.
Some 21 demonstrators were arrested by the Kosovo police. They belong to 'Vetevendosje', an ethnic Albanian protest movement which has fought against both the UN mission UNMIK and EULEX, calling for foreign organisations to leave Kosovo. A spokesperson for EULEX deplored the incident.
'Vetevendosje' published a statement saying that the protocol between the EU mission and Serbian Interior ministry was just the "symptom", while EULEX was "the disease".
"In this protocol, the Kosovo-Serbia border is called the 'administrative boundary' and not an international border. This is not even neutrality – this is what Serbia calls our border," 'Vetevendosje' claims.
The Serbian authorities however have also come under fire of Serbian extremis circles, who claim that its signing the agreement amounts to the recognition of Kosovo by Belgrade. "The only goal of the agreement is to have an adequate exchange of information with EULEX, in the goal of stopping all possible incidents and conflicts in the province," said Goran Bogdanović, Serbian minister for Kosovo. He made clear that the agreement was needed to allow Brussels to lift visa requirements for Serbian nationals, and expressed hope that the document would be signed soon.
Bogdanović reiterated that Kosovo citizens are excluded from the visa liberalisation process as a result of inadequate control of people, products and money crossing the administrative lines between Serbia proper and Kosovo. He added that he hoped the protocol with EULEX would "enable these people to get on the White Schengen list".
In the meantime, seven people were injured on Tuesday in northern Kosovo after groups of Serbs and Albanians clashed in the town of Mitrovica. Some 100 Serbs were protesting against the rebuilding of Albanian houses.
"There was no physical contact but they threw stones at each other. The EULEX special police units intervened using tear gas to disperse the demonstrators and the situation is under control," Kosovo police said in a press release.
Serb leaders in Mitrovica said EULEX must leave the country. They urged Serbian President Boris Tadic "to […] demand the EU mission leave the territory of Serbia".