Still no deal with Priština, prime minister reiterates

BRUSSELS, BELGRADE -- Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has stated in Brussels that essential progress still has not been made in the dialogue with Priština.

Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)
Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)

He added that media reports that an agreement in principle had already been reached were not true.

"I would like it to be true, but we have not reached an agreement," Dačić told reporters after meeting with EU officials.

He recalled that in his meetings to date with Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, Pristina had not budged from its position that the association of Serb municipalities in Kosovo should not have executive and legislative powers.

The prime minister added that the next round of the dialogue with Thaci would be held on March 20 in Brussels.

“(EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) Catherine Ashton has a principle and that is that she does not want us to get together that we will reach some agreement and I agree with her,“ he noted.

Dačić told daily Večernje novosti that Priština was not likely to give in because it had Washington's support and that the EU believed that Serbia would do anything in order to get a date for the start of the EU accession negotiatons.

Daily Blic writes that Brussels has already come up with a formula for the Community of Serb municipalities and that only certain details still need to be agreed on.

According to the daily, Priština will transfer new powers to the Serb municipalities while the Serb municipalities will transfer the powers to the Community of Serb municipalities. Four municipalities from the north and six from the south will join the Community.

Democratic Party (DS) official Goran Bogdanović has said that the EU's proposal for the Community of Serb Municipalities is not completely acceptable to the Serb community.

The prime minister and the Serbian delegation are visiting Brussels today where they will confer with several EU commissioners.

They should meet with EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Tonio Borg, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, Ecology Commissioner Janez Potočnik and Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou.

Deputy PM and Trade Minister Rasim Ljajić, Health Minister Slavica Đukić-Dejanović and Education, Science and Technological Development Minister Žarko Obradović are a part of the Serbian delegation.

Dačić said on Thursday that a goal of his visit to Brussels was not to talk about the Belgrade-Priština dialogue but to meet with the EU commissioners.

“My visit to Brussels tomorrow and talks with four European Commissioners – trade, health, environment and education, together with Serbian government’s ministers has nothing to do with the issue of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue because we have to do other things too,” he said after a meeting with Ashton in Belgrade on Thursday.

The prime minister added that the visit to Brussels was important “both for personal communication and good preparation for the accession negotiations”.

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister for EU Integration Suzana Grubješić stated on Thursday in Brussels that Serbia had never been closer to the EU and that it deserved to get a date for the beginning of the EU accession talks.