The debates over Serbia's bid for the status of a EU candidate, which are due to open in Brussels in March, will likely provoke a new round of destabilization in the Serbian districts of the province. The February 14-15 referendum in four Serbian communities in northern Kosovo confirmed the obvious: their populations continue to overwhelmingly reject the Albanian ethnic rule. A total of 99.74% of those who attended the poll in which the turnout reached 75% replied “No” to the question whether they accepted the institutions of the so-called Republic of Kosovo headquartered in Pristina.
The official Belgrade was clearly allergic to the initiative spinning off in northern Kosovo as president B. Tadic charged that the referendum organized by the leaders of the Serbian municipalities of Kosovo was harming both Serbia and the Serbian communities in the province. No doubt, Belgrade's already permanent pressure on the Kosovo Serbs will peak if the EU Council which is so far divided over Serbia's aspirations manages to hammer out a compromise and Belgrade is allowed to buy the official EU candidate status at the cost of new concessions on Kosovo.