Avni Arifi, Chief of Kosovo delegation in technical talks with Serbia, announced to online media Telegrafi that the EU-facilitated talks between Pristina and Belgrade will resume in Brussels by the end of February. Arifi said the date was yet to be set but the resumption of the dialogue is expected in late February, after the cancellation of talks following the killing of the Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanovic, on 16 January in Mitrovica North. Such dialogue is oriented both on the integration of Serbian community within Kosovo legal frame, and the normalization of relations between the two countries.
According to Gazeta Express, Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti said that there is a current version of the EU enlargement strategy, which urgently calls for a complete normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, in the form of a legally binding agreement. The article claims that an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina is considered to be of fundamental importance for the European perspective both of Kosovo and of Serbia as well as for the entire region. To this end, the High Representative of the EU is expected to intensify his efforts to facilitate the negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade in order to achieve the normalization of relations. It is reported also that the strategy includes an “indicative illustration” of the measures necessary to complete the process of Serbia’s accession to the EU by 2025. Therefore, by the end of 2019 at the latest, Belgrade should meet the transition criteria set out in Chapter 35, concerning Kosovo. This means that in less than two years, Belgrade and Pristina should close all the controversial issues, which seems rather ambitious, given the slow pace of the previous dialogue, the newspaper reported.
Serbian Foreign Minister confirmed he wants to maintain the good relations with Ukraine, after Ukraine’s ambassador to Belgrade Aleksandrovych’s statement about Russia using Serbia to provoke a new war in the Balkans. FM Dacic explained why Aleksandrovych had to wait for 14 months for an audience with him, given that the same treatment, according to Dacic, was used against the ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to Ukrain, Bulatovic. He also clarified why Serbia voted “against Ukraine” (against the UN resolution for human rights in Crimea): Ukraine supports the Western countries’ proposals to change the mandate of the UNMIK in Kosovo, a solution which is opposed by Serbia. Moreover, Ukraine acted against Serbia’s interests staying “out of the room” during the voting on membership of Kosovo in UNESCO in 2015.
After the Catalan referendum and European Commission’s position that it was illegal, “it must be clear how difficult it is to safeguard Serbia’s independence”. President Aleksandar Vucic said this on Monday in Belgrade, responding to reporters’ questions during a news conference. “The question every citizen of Serbia has for the European Union today is: how come that in the case of Catalonia the referendum on independence is not valid, while in the case of Kosovo secession is allowed even without a referendum”, Vucic continued. “How did you proclaim the secession of Kosovo to be legal, even without a referendum, and how did 22 European Union countries legalize this secession, while destroying European law and the foundations of European law, on which the European policy and EU policy are based” Vucic asked. Tanjug is reporting that Vucic went on to “publicly ask” how he was supposed to explain European integration of Serbia to Serbian citizens now – “although, without a doubt, Serbia sees its future in the EU, because of the type of society we striving towards, as well as for the sake of a better economy, and for other reasons”. “So, how come Catalonia cannot, and Kosovo can – there will never be an answer on this given to the Serbs”, Vucic noted. “This is the best example of the double standards and hypocrisy of the world politics”, said Vucic.