President again says EU will seek "recognition of Kosovo"
Tomislav Nikolic says he "knows for certain" that Serbia will be faced with a choice: either Kosovo or EU membership.Source: Tanjug, Večernje novosti
The Serbian president spoke during the weekend to add that the country "must be prepared for this."
He made a similar statement last week, claiming that the EU will demand Serbia's recognition of the ethnic Albanian declaration of independence of its southern province, which it considers a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"Brussels will confront us with recognizing Kosovo and we have to be ready for this. We have to reach a national consensus on this issue as soon as possible and it is time I had a word with Prime Minister (Aleksandar) Vucic on this," Nikolic said in an interview for the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.
After a recent meeting with newly-appointed EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, Nikolic started to warn that Serbia will be faced with such a challenge, reads the daily.
"No one from the EU has refuted Hahn's statements. And that means that the commissioner was not only speaking his own mind. He was obviously voicing an official position," Nikolic said.
Asked if he would head a country which would give up Kosovo for the sake of the EU membership, Nikolic said he would not be a part of the authorities that recognized Kosovo, or the person who would "reflect on whether we would get more euros if we give it away."
Asked whether he believes that the government would follow him in this case, Nikolic said that the government does not have to follow him.
"It would act in line with its Constitution, interests and opinion of the citizens of Serbia, honor, morality ... I have no doubt that the government would take the same position in this case," the president said, adding that he sees no one among the prominent figures in the Serbian politics who would give up on Kosovo and Metohija.
Asked why he decided to be the first Serbian official to talk about this, Nikolic said that he can see that no one besides him has voiced their stance on the issue, adding that this condition has not been mentioned in the negotiations.
"We should not bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich and fail to see the lion that eats us from above," said the Serbian president.