EU "to give Serbia deadline about Kosovo, 2019 key year"
A comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, in the form of a legally binding agreement, is "urgent" for the EU.Source: Vecernje novosti
That's according to a working version of EU enlargement strategy that the Belgrade daily Vecenje Novosti said it has seen.
According to the the article, which noted that the document should officially be presented in February, an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina is of essential importance for the European perspective of both Kosovo and Serbia and the wider region.
It is stressed that the EU high representative will intensify her engagement in facilitating negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade in order to achieve normalization of relations in the form of a legally binding agreement.
The strategy also includes an "indicative illustration" of the steps required to complete the process of Serbia's accession to the EU by 2025, which is the best case scenario. Thus, at the latest by the end of 2019, among other things, Belgrade should meet the transitional criteria under chapter 35, relating to Kosovo.
The document reportedly also contains this statement: "Serbia and Kosovo need to achieve a comprehensive normalization of relations at the latest by this stage, which should pave the way for further substantial progress of Kosovo on the path of European integration."
All this means that in less than two years, Belgrade and Pristina should close all controversial issues, which is too ambitious, given the slow pace of the previous dialogue, writes the newspaper.
Those Vercenje Novosti spoke with, however, believe that it is not impossible to reach an agreement with Pristina by the end of next year - but with the "assistance" of influential states. Thus, FPN professor Dragan Djukanovic believes that normalization of relations can be achieved by the end of this or at the latest in early 2019, while former ambassador Milovan Bozinovic told the daily it was his impression that the government was psychologically preparing the public for major decisions.