Home Page
news 19 Feb 13

Serb Officials Travel to Secure EU Start Date

As Brussels readies to decide on whether to grant Serbia a start date for EU accession talks, Serbian officials are heading to EU capitals to muster support.

Bojana Barlovac BIRN Belgrade

Serbian officials are travelling to Brussels and Berlin this week, to persuade their would-be EU partners of their willingness to "normalise" relations with Kosovo - Serbia's main precondition for further progress on the EU path.

Prime Minister Ivica Dacic is due to meet his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci, for the fifth time in Brussels on Tuesday, Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, confirmed.

"Last time, they talked about the situation in the north of Kosovo [and] I expect they will continue the debate on that subject, as well as on the practical implementation of already reached agreements," Kocijancic said.

EU-mediated talks between Serbia and Kosovo started in March 2011, three years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.

Serbia has vowed never to recognise Kosovo as a state, but says it is open to deals that improve daily lives on both sides of the [from Serbia's point of view unrecognised] border.

So far, the two sides have reached deals on freedom of movement, university diplomas, regional representation, customs, and on trade. But not all deals have been implemented.

Meanwhile, Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister, is travelling on Wednesday  to Germany, a key decision-maker on a potential start date for EU accession talks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted that Serbia abolish its so-called "parallel structures" in the Serb-run north of Kosovo.

The northern segment of the ex-province of Serbia is beyond the remit of the Pristina government, does not acknowledge its institutions, or recognise its independence from Serbia, proclaimed in 2008.

Belgrade, meanwhile, finances a network of so-called "parallel institutions" there, including schools, hospitals, post offices and local government authorities.

In December, EU foreign ministers said they would not recommend a date for talks until they saw more signs of progress in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

The European Commission will present its report on the issue to the Council on April 16, culminating on June 28 with a decision on whether to give Serbia a start date.

Serbia obtained EU candidate status in March 2012 and is hoping to get a start date for accession talks in June 2013.

On Monday, Vincent Degert, head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, said that Belgrade had achieved significant progress and had made steps towards the EU.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

kosovo-s-constitution-challenged-in-the-north News 10 Apr 14 Kosovo Constitution Still Challenged in North

Six years after Kosovo's independence constitution came into force, authorities in Pristina are still struggling to implement it in the Serb-run north of the country.

serbia-mulls-new-kosovo-resolution news 04 Apr 14 Serbia Mulls New Kosovo Resolution

Officials have suggested the possibility of a new parliamentary resolution on Kosovo after Serbia's new government is formed, but will not change their stance on non-recognition. 

kosovo-police-officers-survive-armed-attack-in-the-north News 01 Apr 14 Attack on Police in North Kosovo Probed

Kosovo Police have launched an investigation into an attack on three ethnic Serbian police officers in the north of the country.

kosovo-blames-serbia-for-delays-in-implementing-april-deal News 31 Mar 14 Kosovo Blames Serbia for Delays in Normalization Deal

The authorities in Pristina accused Belgrade of slowing the pace on implementing the EU-mediated deal to normalize relations and failing to fulfil commitments on judicial changes.

kosovo-opposition-criticizes-government-on-the-dialogue-with-belgrade News 28 Mar 14 Kosovo Opposition Slate 'Failed' Serbia Dialogue

As Pristina and Belgrade prepare to resume dialogue on normalizing relations next week, the opposition has criticized the government's handling of the talks and the results so far.

photomontage-with-nato-and-nike-sparks-controversy-in-serbia news 25 Mar 14 Tweets Hailing NATO's Kosovo War Offend Serbia

An image posted on Twitter lauding NATO's air war against Serbia has angered the Belgrade authorities, who have called it offensive.

kosovo-s-thaci-slams-speculations-on-kosovo-crimea-parallels News 19 Mar 14 Kosovo Leader Dismisses Parallels With Crimea

Hashim Thaci, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, has strongly rejected claims that the secession of Crimea from Ukraine follows a pattern set by Kosovo's own secession from Serbia.

train-to-serbia-leaves-kosovo-steaming feature 19 Mar 14 Train to Serbia Leaves Kosovo Steaming

Rail service to Mitrovica from Kraljevo is an illegal incursion, Kosovo officials say.

dodik-says-crimea-independence-was-legal-unlike-kosovo-s news 19 Mar 14 Bosnian Serb Chief Hails Crimea Secession From Ukraine

Milorad Dodik, President of the Republika Srpska, said that while the separation of Crimea from Ukraine is defensible, that of Kosovo from Serbia was not.

crimea-secession-just-like-kosovo-putin news 18 Mar 14 Putin Says Kosovo Precedent Justifies Crimea Secession

Russian President likens Crimean secession from Ukraine to Kosovo’s secession from Serbia - and accuses the West of rewriting its own rule book.