Poll: A majority says that Kosovo Serbs will not benefit from the European proposal

Mitrovica Šetalište zima

„Simply put: What Serbs in Vukovar got after Milosevic agreed to peaceful reintegration, that’s also how we’ve been peacefully reintegrated in Serbia“ reads one of the responses to the online poll published on KoSSev’s Facebook page, where we asked our readers to share their views of what Kosovo Serbs will get with the so-called European proposal.

The President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti held talks in Brussels this Monday. Following their meeting, it was announced that the parties had agreed that “no further talks are needed” regarding the European proposal, whose full content was published on that same evening under the name Agreement on the path to normalization between Kosovo and Serbia.

Vucic and Kurti made separate announcements that no agreement had been reached. While Vucic demands the formation of the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities (ASM), which should be formalized through an implementation agreement, and denies recognizing Kosovo, Kurti expressed regret over the fact Vucic did not sign the Basic Agreement. The Kosovo PM stressed that he is ready to sign such an agreement because he believes that Serbia and Kosovo are two equal and independent states, while at the same time opposing the formation of the ASM.

The basic agreement also lacks details of its implementation, which is why Vucic and Kurti are set to meet again soon.

Although Belgrade and Pristina’s international partners claim that the agreement was designed to benefit citizens, the opinions they expressed in our online poll were quite different:

Our 24-hour polls shared on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posed the questions: “What is your opinion of the content of the EU proposal?” and “What will it bring to the Serbs in Kosovo?”

Out of a total of 2,034 responses, the majority of citizens shared a negative attitude toward the so-called European proposal, that is, the „Agreement on the path to normalization between Kosovo and Serbia.“

They expressed the belief that average citizens will benefit the least from the agreement. Prevailing views are that it will not bring about anything good, and that it only benefits Pristina.

A total of 560 Instagram users answered the question: ‘What is your opinion of the content of the EU proposal?’ in the past 24 hours, 328 of them (59%) believe that this proposal will benefit the citizens the least, while 31% (173) think that this agreement is only beneficial for Pristina. While only five percent each (29-30) replied that the agreement ‘is a good thing for Belgrade’ and ‘a good thing for both sides.’

On Twitter, the results of the poll are somewhat different. Out of a total of 292 responses, 39% of respondents say that the proposal is good for Pristina, and 32% that it will benefit the citizens the least. While 27% believe that the proposal is good for both sides, only two percent said that the agreement is good for Belgrade.

To the question ‘what will mean for Serbs in Kosovo?’ out of 657 total responses on Instagram, 59% (388) answered ;nothing good’, while 23% (150 users) said that it would work in Pristina’s favor. On the other hand, 78 users (12%) believe that there will be no change, and only 6% (41 users) claimed that the agreement would improve the life of Kosovo Serbs.

On Twitter, the responses given were somewhat more balanced, with 40% (328) of users responding with ‘nothing good’; 22% believe that there will be no changes, while a somewhat smaller number of users (20%) say that life of Kosovo Serbs will improve. On the other hand, 19% believe that the agreement works in Pristina’s favor.

On Facebook, 197 users responded to our question – ‘What will Kosovo Serbs get if the so-called European proposal is accepted?’

The citizens shared an almost unanimous view – that Kosovo Serbs would not benefit from the agreement.

„The plan of the great powers was accepted. When it is officially signed, and when it takes root on the ground, Serbs will leave within six months. Depending on how fast they sell their property“ – reads one of the comments.

Other users agreed with this comment, saying that accepting the proposal would bring Serbs „absolutely nothing but exile“ and „a quick departure from Kosovo“.

They will lose what little they had

„We will have the status of displaced persons, in a few months 90% of Serbs will leave Kosovo,“ said one of the users.

A debate also opened up in the comments between Serb and Albanian users: „You’re wrong to think you will have it better in Serbia, I know that 20 years ago the people of Belgrade referred to you as Shiptars and Djivdzanis. That’s how much they love you,” followed by comments that „it’s not all sunshine and roses“ in Kosovo either.
While sharing photos of tractors, one of the Albanian users wrote: „Serbs will get the latest tractors – turbo ones so that you can return to your former homelands as soon as possible – the Carpathian Mountains.“
Slobodan Vujicic, one of the leaders of the Montenegrins in Kosovo, also joined the discussion. Vujicic responded to Albanian users bragging about the situation in Kosovo by drawing attention to the fact that Montenegrins are not a constitutional category, and that there are no Serbs and Montenegrins in Pristina, where he was born.
„There are a large number of people who have not sold their properties but have nowhere to return to, their apartments were either occupied or destroyed, plus they have no employment prospects. As for the incidents, what will happen when there is not a single Serb in Pristina apart from a priest who does not go out in the city,“ he replied to one Albanian Facebook user who stated that Serbs had sold their property and that they had no incidents with Albanians.

„They will get nothing for sure, read the plan with the first point, this is like with the Dayton (Agreement) – take it or leave it. Only Rakic wins here, his trade. King Nikola said, my people, my cattle.“

They will get Greater Albania and the Pashalik of Belgrade

„Those who have property in Serbia will leave, and the poor who have nowhere to go will remain, and then it will be obvious who got what and who was loyal to Serbia. Those who’ll leave will show they were loyal to Serbia figuratively, because they will not earn the same amount, and these are all state institutions. The poor who will remain are those who believe in the true state of Serbia,“ said one of the users.

„Those of us who remain will continue to receive social welfare. And I expect that someone from SL would run for the president of the so-called R. Kosovo, and start receiving his fifth salary. Long live Serbia.“

„Even more bullying and unacceptable lives next to the neighbors.“

Some users described the acceptance of the proposal as „historical shame“ and „treason“.

Betrayal – plain and simple

„With the European proposal the criminal NATO countries and the terrorist KLA would get complete justification for the brutal aggression and secessionism of the territory of Kosmet in 1999, with the possibility of further attacks on other free and sovereign UN members countries, because if you give them the finger, they’ll ask for the whole hand. Serbia is not for sale and we do not have a spare homeland, and everything must be returned by all possible means to the binding resolution of the UN Security Council 1244 because Kosmet is the heart of Serbia.“

Other Facebook users believe that accepting the proposal means also accepting the unilaterally- declared independence of Kosovo.

Thus, according to them, the Serbs in Kosovo will get:

„Their country as a neighbor“ and „Kosovo citizenship“.

There were also conflicting views – some claim that the European proposal, now an agreement, has been accepted, while others think that it has not and will never be accepted.

„It will simply not be accepted because the ASM will never be established in its intended form (the opinion on the ASM is irrelevant) and so on until new geopolitical events, escalations, and the like.“

Survey respondents also debated what has and what has not been accepted – whether they are just „buying time“ or the agreement is „leading to recognition“.

„There is no need to argue about the European proposal. No one can accept it. Kosovo and Metohija is a southern Serbian province and indisputable part of Serbia. Serbia cannot exist without Kosovo and Metohija. Taking a pulse through media is a very tricky business. You should not play with the people, because whoever dared to play with them – it did not end well for them. The people are the power and strength of the state, and throughout history, we have proven that we are a very brave and tenacious people. We have always risen from the ashes, and we will do so once again.“

„You just have to drive down the main road in the north and you will see how many signs ‘house for sale’ are displayed. Serbs know very well what awaits them.“

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