The settlement of legal relations in connection to the hydropower plant Gazivode (Gazivodë) is an important moment for Serbia to start membership negotiations with the European Union, said Laszlo Varga, member of Serbian parliament from the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians and deputy chair of the Parliamentary Committee on EU Integration. He told Novi Sad–based Hungarian language daily Magyar Szo that it is impossible to determine the date when first chapters will be opened, Tanjug reported.
When it comes to chapter 35, covering “other issues”, Varga believes it is a really difficult issue and that it concerns the hydropower plant and associated infrastructure, which he said accounted for a significant part of Kosovo’s* power supply system. It is about a facility most of which is located in central Serbia, and a smaller part in the territory of Kosovo*. Kosovo* demands the whole facility for itself and sees it as its property, he added. Serbia, of course, has a completely different approach to this issue given where the funds to build this hydropower plant came from decades ago – that is, considering that much of the facility lies in the territory of central Serbia, Varga said.
Gazivode is an artificial lake made in 1977, with a 35 MW hydroelectric plant. It is situated in a predominantly Serb-populated area. Kosovo’s* population depends on the lake for drinking water, and a thermal power plant needs the water for cooling. Kosovo* Energy Distribution Services (KEDS) is owned by Turkish companies Çalik and Limak since 2013, but the power infrastructure at Gazivode is controlled by EPS (Electric Power Industry of Serbia). Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vučić refuses to hand over complete control of the resource to the system under the government in Priština (Prishtina), even if the opening of EU membership negotiations depends on it.