Effective last week, after several deadlines and warnings, the Kosovo government started confiscating Serbian car plates.
By Muhamet Brajshori for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 09/06/12
As of June 1st, cars that belong to Kosovo citizens cannot bear Serbian plates, but bloggers said that the government's approach to enforcement is lacking.
On the streets of Kosovo, all cars with Serbian plates are now subject to having their plates confiscated by the government, Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi said. But this has triggered a debate over both the political and economic implications.
"I have nothing against the new plates, but my family lives in Serbia and when I want to travel there with those Kosovo plates I would need to pay a huge amount of money. Politicians should think how they can make the life of people easier ... rather than forcing things," Mihajlo Bogdanovic of Gracanica told SETimes.
Analysts said that the issue only lowers the interior ministry's credibility among both Albanians and Serbs.
"Many blame the interior ministry for the failures in northern Kosovo, and they will try to fill the gap by imposing those deadlines towards the Serbs in the south," Bujar Gash, a fellow at the Centre for Conflict Resolution and Studies, told SETimes.
Arberi is sceptical that any crackdown will actually occur.
"[The government] is not serious on the issue of car plates -- every year they take such decisions to confiscate car plates, and … they do it with some poor people, but not with businessmen and Serbs who work for Serbian Interior Ministry," Arberi said.
Fisi added "If you want to be a serious state, don't confiscate plates but the cars. [Serbs] have two or three plates and this is not a problem for them."
Dritani said "The majority of Serbs in the south of Kosovo do not discuss the giving up of their car plates --many have taken [Kosovo ones]. Their problem is that they can't travel then to Serbia, and the majority of plates are in the north. Rexhepi should go to the north to confiscate car plates."
Elbasan Arifi said he supports confiscating the plates. "I hope this is serious. I have the feeling we are in the regime of Milosevic when I see those plates."