"Belgrade imposing tight EU integration deadlines on itself"

"Two great weavers have been trying, by working simultaneously on two looms — Brussels and Berlin — to weave a tapestry of Serbia in the European Union, but it has again turned out that this is impossible for as long as (Prime Minister) Ivica Dačić and (First Deputy Prime Minister) Aleksandar Vučić do not say what our borders are," Politika's columnist Boško Jakšić writes in a commentary published by the newspaper:

In the West they say that there are no new conditions, but somehow it seems to me that time is a new condition. What exactly has been done in connection with the court in Kosovska Mitrovica, telecommunications, electricity? Next to nothing. This is probably why they are asking Vučić to become more actively involved in the dialogue…

Does anybody think that at Brussels they are unaware of the drop in the attractiveness of the EU integration idea among the Serbs, caused precisely by an impression that 'we will never get anything' from the European Union? Of course they know, but whose problem is that? Ours or the European Union's? It is high time we got off the stage on which politicians have been proudly pinning medals on each other's chests, boasting about epic patriotism, quoting the Constitution and its Preamble, showering blessings on a heavenly future…

It is only since the forming of the 'patriotic coalition' of the Progressives and the Socialists — a rare one that strongly patriotically charged Serbs cannot criticize on the score of the above topics — that it has become clear that we can cut off the umbilical cord with the past and shed the shackles that we have been dragging.

Nikolić, Dačić, and Vučić are a triumvirate that has nothing to fear, that can be brave with no risk of anything happening to them. After all, as such, it has received the support of the West, which taught us a lesson again in the case of Boris Tadić that there are no emotions in politics or sentimental partners for all time.

With this kind of capital, the above threesome has no choice but to get the job in connection with Kosovo done on the principle of salvaging what it still can — and this, let us make no mistake, is not much.

The previous government not only left behind a pile of unfulfilled promises, but Dačić, in his Fourth Offensive, has to demolish log bridges across the Ibar River in order to get to the right side.

Which side? While the Germans expect Belgrade to relinquish its control of the north, it seems that the forming of a union of Serb municipalities that would have powers in education, the judiciary, and local self-government really is the maximum that can be achieved today for solving the problem of parallelism of institutions.

Will this be enough for visible and durable progress in Serbia's relations with Kosovo, which is an important standard that will be applied in Catherine Ashton's report in April?Perhaps. However, when Dačić says that it would be very good if this could be done within the next month, then it looks to me
not like realistic optimism, but more like haste for setting a date.

Unlike the establishment, which links solutions for Kosovo directly to the coveted date, I attach much less importance to a date for opening negotiations with the European Union. Even according to the best-case scenario, we will need a decade, which means that we can wait for a date for opening negotiations.

There is no need for Belgrade to impose tight deadlines upon itself. Gentlemen, be not in haste! After decades have been lost, we can afford to spend a few months longer in search for a solution that would be sustainable for people in Kosovo and not tailored mostly to the measure of politicians' ambitions.

If new elections are not in the offing, then not getting a date in April will not be a disaster. Serbia should remain committed to change, as Vučić says, insisting that 'this time it has done nothing at the last moment.'

Let us keep it that way.