“We have a deal,” wrote EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Twitter late Wednesday evening. Accordingly, Kosovo will not take any steps to re-register vehicles, while Serbia will not issue new license plates for its former province.

In recent months, authorities in Pristina have worked hard to replace Serbian license plates in the country. According to estimates, around 10,000 vehicles still have the same license plates, particularly in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo. From Tuesday, their owners should be fined 150 euros. Following the intervention of the US embassy, ​​the Kosovo government postponed the entry into force of this regulation until Thursday. The current agreement invalidates the application of the measure.

On Monday, a high-level meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti failed. The negotiations, led by EU-Kosovo representative Miroslav Lajčák, have now made a breakthrough.

“I am very pleased that the chief negotiators of Kosovo and Serbia have agreed, under EU mediation, on measures to avoid further tensions and focus on fully normalizing relations,” Borrell said. “Serbia will stop issuing license plates with the names of Kosovo cities, and Kosovo will refrain from any further action regarding the re-registration of vehicles.” The two sides are expected to take further steps in the coming days.

Authorities in Kosovo began implementing a regulation on 1 November that aims to replace Serbian license plates with Kosovo license plates by 21 April. In the beginning, the Kosovo police only warned the car owners, now they should be punished too. The conflict had already escalated dangerously in the summer, after the Kosovo government first questioned the validity of Serbian license plates in the country. Kosovo Serbs later closed their border crossings to Serbia.

Kosovo, mostly Albanian, declared its independence from Serbia unilaterally in early 2008. Belgrade does not recognize this movement and continues to regard Kosovo as a province of southern Serbia, as do the Serbs who live there. Kosovo was placed under UN administration in 1999 to protect Albanians living there from attacks by Serbian security forces.