Next week “crucial for Serbia’s EU talks date”

BELGRADE -- Next week could be crucial for Serbia when it comes to a date for the beginning of the EU accession negotiations, daily Večernje novosti writes.

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

The dialogue between Serbian and Kosovo Prime Ministers Ivica Dačić and Hashim Thaci will continue and Serbia’s First Deputy PM Aleksandar Vučić will visit Berlin next week.

Dačić and Thaci will start negotiations about the “parallelism” of institutions in northern Kosovo on Tuesday and a state delegation led by Vučić will on Wednesday visit Germany, a country that the final decision on the date for the start of the EU talks depends most on.

It is certain that Serbia will in a week have a much clearer picture if it will be able to get a date for the beginning of the EU talks in June and which painful compromises regarding Kosovo Belgrade will have to make in order to achieve its goal.

Current positions are clear – Germany and Priština want the “parallel institutions in Kosovo” to be abolished while Belgrade advocates a comprehensive solution that will provide Serbs in Kosovo with their autonomous institutions.

Formally, Brussels’ key condition is “normalization of relations between Belgrade and Priština” that should be reached through dialogue.

Thaci has stressed that “Serbian parallel structures” will be disbanded soon while the Serbian PM claims that the negotiations about the “parallelism” are only starting.

According to Dačić, the result should be forming of institutions of the Serbian people instead of Serbia.

Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo Director Aleksandar Vulin has stated that the Serbian institutions in Kosovo will not be abolished.

“We will not give up on the Serbian institutions in the north of the province. We will continue to finance them,” he pointed out.

“Serbia will not trade northern Kosovo for a date for the beginning of the EU accession negotiations. Not because we are some great patriots but because it is not possible. I hope our European friends will not ask this from us,” Vulin added.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić has said that Serbia’s position ahead of the talks on the “parallelism of institutions” is clear and determined by the Serbian parliament’s Resolution on Kosovo.

He also does not expect the issue to be an obstacle to the date for the beginning of the EU accession negotiations.

“I believe we will get the date but I would not want us to see it as something that will determine the country’s fate,” the minister stressed.

“It would be pretentious to claim that now everything depends on Germany and other EU member states could not agree with it either. We have a constant and constructive communication with Berlin,” he added.

European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur for Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek expects that the “Serbian parallel institutions in northern Kosovo” will be discussed in the continuation of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue.

“The work of security services, primarily police and the judiciary in northern Kosovo, will most likely be a topic of the new round (of the talks). Border crossings between Kosovo and Serbia exist, function and the customs agreement is implemented there. It remains to be seen how Belgrade will, in agreement with the Kosovo authorities, solve the financing of its institutions in the north,” she explained.