EU set to unveil enlargement strategy for Western Balkans
The EU will on Tuesday officially unveil its enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans, which has been speculated about for days.Source: B92
It will be heard today whether any dates will be mentioned.
As the day approached, the number of reported versions of the EU document was increasing, with some media describing it as "Day D" for Serbia. It was reported in previous days that the EU was "ready to receive six countries of the Western Balkans, including Kosovo," that Spain "hopes to stop Kosovo's integration into the European Union" - and that no dates would be mentioned at all.
According to one version of the interpretation of the strategy, which Tanjug reported about, 2019 will not be mentioned as the deadline for achieving a comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo - which was previously repeatedly stated as the key point regarding Serbia's EU integration.
According to Tanjug's unofficial information, the document instead underlines that the two sides should conclude a comprehensive, legally binding agreement on the normalization of relations "as soon as possible" - which means that the European Commission has given up on setting a deadline for that obligation.
In addition, another new point, compared to the original draft of the strategy, is the attitude towards Kosovo. According to information provided to Tanjug by diplomatic sources in Brussels, the final text envisages that Kosovo can progress on its European path "through the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA)" - and this will happen "when objective circumstances permit."
This change of the wording, specifically the European Commission's approach, is explained by the same sources as "the lowering the ambitions that existed earlier for Kosovo's progress on the EU path."
Tanjug previously reported that the issue is the fact - which Spain has also referred to - that Kosovo reached the end of its current possible European integration path with the coming into force of the SAA.
Each next step will require consensus of all member states on the status of Kosovo as an independent state. Such consensus does not exist, and the question remains if and when might be achieved.
Earlier, 2025 was mentioned as the year when Serbia and Montenegro could join the EU. According to a new version reported about by Beta, the strategy does not mention any deadlines to meet the conditions on the road to EU membership that were specified in a previous version.