Why ethnic tensions are rising in northern Kosovo

STORY: Tensions are flaring in northern Kosovo, where ethnic Albanian mayors have been trying to take office following April elections boycotted by the local majority Serb population.

On Monday (May 29) Serb demonstrations left at least 30 NATO peacekeepers and 52 Serbs injured.

Fifteen years after Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence, Serbia still refuses to recognize Kosovo’s statehood and instead deems it part of its territory.

This is despite recognition for Kosovo from major EU countries and the U.S. who've called on all parties to de-escalate the situation.

Kosovo is attempting to assert authority over all its territory, while Serbs are pushing for an association of municipalities operating with some autonomy in Serb-majority regions.

Pristina rejects this as a recipe for a mini-state within Kosovo, effectively partitioning the country along ethnic lines.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti explained his proposition:

"I proposed a normalization model which Serbia already has with Republic of Croatia, because there is no normalization, good neighborly relations without mutual recognition, but also without serious, honest treatment of the protection of national minorities."

Serbia and Kosovo have made little progress on this despite committing in 2013 to dialog aimed at normalizing ties - a requirement for both to gain EU membership.