SNS is pro-European party, opposition leader claims

VIENNA -- Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader Tomislav Nikolić has stated that the EU did not set Kosovo as a condition for Serbia's further EU integration.

Tomislav Nikolić (Beta, file)
Tomislav Nikolić (Beta, file)

"So far, no one from the EU has set a condition to Serbia by saying that if the country does not want to give up on Kosovo, it will not join the EU. Serbia wants to be an EU member, and it has not separated from Kosovo," he told Vienna-based daily Die Presse.

Nikolić signed a cooperation agreement with the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) in Vienna Wednesday.

Commenting the ideas on the possible division of Kosovo, the SNS leader stressed that such a move would be contrary to Serbia's Constitution, but that it represented a possibility for a new dialogue.

"In the part of Kosovo with the Serb population, the ethnic Albanians have no authority, and it is hard to imagine that they could ever again have, just like Serbia no longer has the power in Priština and it will not be able to reestablish it," he stressed.

Regarding the arrest of Hague Tribunal indictee Ratko Mladić and the comment that he protested over Radovan Karadžić's arrest in 2008, Nikolić recalled that, at the time, he had been a head of the Serb Radical Party (SRS) which had decided to stage a public protest.

"However, the Radicals never had the desire to come in power. SNS is something else. We are a pro-European party, and Mladić's extradition was one of the conditions in the EU accession process. If we were to stand against the EU, we would not be able to win elections in Serbia. That is why we did not wish to protest," he explained.