Where does the Brussels „roadmap“ lead?

Dragutin Nenezić
Dragutin Nenezić je pravnik iz Beograda koji više od deset godina radi na Kosovu i Metohiji. Tokom rada u advokaturi, savetovao je i zastupao stranke u privatizacionim i imovinskim sporovima pred prištinskim sudovima, i vremenom se profilisao kao ekspert za pitanje imovine na Kosovu i Metohiji, u kom svojstvu je učestvovao u različitim forumima i inicijativama. Trenutno radi kao konsultant u oblasti infrastrukture, energetike i ekologije, kao i javnih politika.

By Dragutin Nenezic

As anticipated in recent weeks, a document titled the „Energy Agreements’ Implementation Roadmap“ was concluded today within the Brussels process. This 9-point document defines what should happen in the field of energy in northern Kosovo, and in this text, I will present, in the words of Major Kursula, some personal observations related to it.

The first point of the document envisages what I mentioned in my previous text as a rational solution – licensing of Elektrosever. If that doesn’t happen, all the other points don’t make a great deal of sense because the deadlines provided in them are related to this first step, that is, the first point. That procedure can be done as early as this week, if there is political will for it, or it can take another year if such a will does not exist – as that is the way the Pristina legal system operates.

In the following points, various obligations on the part of Elektrosever are listed, as well as on the part of Pristina bodies (such as the Energy Regulatory Office – ERO) and companies (KOSTT system operator and KEDS energy distribution), with the EU as the facilitator. With regard to these obligations, I would like to point out the following:

  • • Elektrosever should provide to KOSTT and KEDS data on consumers – it’ll be interesting to see how this will take place, i.e. which consumers will be covered by this, and whether the personal data regulations, if nothing else, will be taken into account;
  • • Elektrosever is to sign a set of contracts with KOSTT and KEDS, including a contract for the provision of distribution services in four municipalities in northern Kosovo. It is unclear who will provide this service, whether Elektrosever or KEDS, as well as under what conditions, i.e. what will be the content of this and other contracts – this will also be interesting to see;
  • • It is clearly stated that KEDS and KOSTT will have access to the Valac substation, which confirms my position that there is no need to occupy it – it is, at least on paper, via this document, explicitly handed over to the Pristina authorities, within whose system it has been operating in recent years;
  • • KOSTT and KEDS shall, with the consent of Elektrosever, submit to ERO the investment plan, which will include, among other things, maintenance costs and network losses, which ERO (in principle) should approve in the short term. Although it was not made explicit, it seems clear that this applies to northern Kosovo.

Finally, the second to last point of this document envisages that the ERO will suspend the license of Elektrosever in case of non-compliance with the provisions within 100 days of licensing, i.e. first step/point.

Bearing all the above-mentioned in mind, the following can be concluded:

  • • Even among those who found this doubtful, that’ll no longer be the case – by implementing this document, northern Kosovo is fully absorbed into the Pristina energy system;
  • • There are multiple inequalities in favor of Pristina – the agreement will come into force only when the Pristina authorities, without any defined deadline and conditions (i.e. with complete discretion), give a license to Elektrosever. However, if anyone on the Pristina side (ERO, KOSTT, or KEDS) does not act within the deadlines set by this document, the consequences will be borne only by Elektrosever – by having its license be revoked;
  • • In that sense, it seems that the position of Elektrosever is definitely uncertain, and very possibly temporary. It will start operating only if Pristina allows it, and it can stop doing so at any time if Pristina desires it. The content of the agreement between Elektrosever and KOSTT/KEDS determines what will happen if the license of Elektrosever is revoked, but if the spirit of this document persists, it is likely that KOSTT and KEDS will take full jurisdiction over its energy system.

In other words, this is a significant step in the implementation of previously agreed documents dealing with energy. It is likely that they could have been implemented without it, but thanks to this agreement their implementation is a bit clearer, with a wide area for Pristina’s discretion in those parts that are ambiguous.

The reasons for its adoption are probably political and should be sought in the corpus of problems tied to the fratricidal war in Ukraine, such as the energy crisis and EU enlargement.

Overall, however, this agreement does not offer too much to Serbs in northern Kosovo, and could potentially adversely affect their position. Elektrosever, as a kind of presumed lifeline, can easily share the fate of the famous asterisk – to melt away, disappear, and be forgotten.

It should be noted that this document does not go into the issue of property, although the issue of indirect legitimization of the sale of KEDS to a Turkish investor by Pristina can be justifiably raised, given that KEDS appears as a co-contractor of Elektrokosmet.

Also, this document does not address the issue of debt for (un)supplied electricity to northern Kosovo in previous years/decades, but it does not necessarily have to be a good thing, given that the Pristina authorities continue to make the decisions on this in the now long-standing institutional game of ping-pong.

In the end, if this document is implemented by then, and if the announced exchange of Belgrade electricity for Pristina’s coal takes place, it will be interesting to break down such an arrangement into simple factors: Belgrade will export its electricity to Pristina, through a system that once belonged to it (and which it handed over to Pristina), and in exchange, it will get coal from the mines to which it (still) lays claim – or perhaps this will also be an indirect legitimization of their usurpation by Pristina.

Read more:

Petkovic on the energy agreement: We didn’t hand over Valac, we opened the door for the ASM

Energy agreement adopted: Elektrosever receives a supply license, KEDS and KOSTT access to Valac

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