Official urges "accepting of institutions in north"

Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanović says it will be "hard to remove parallel institutions in Kosovo".

Izvor: B92

Tuesday, 20.12.2011.

12:30

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Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanovic says it will be "hard to remove parallel institutions in Kosovo". "It would be easier for both Pristina and the international community to instead accept them," he told B92, in reference to the Serbian institutions in Kosovo. Official urges "accepting of institutions in north" Unlike German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Serbia views the issue of what parallel institutions are differently, he stated, and added that this was "legitimate, because it is about a part of territory that Serbia considers its own". "That mwans we have both the constitutional right and obligation to offer to the people (in Kosovo) all those services available to any other citizens in other parts of our territory. Health care and education cannot be parallel institutions under any circumstances, and what international representatives and even Mrs. Merkel insist, I think relates to the local self-government," said Ivanovic. He was commenting on Merkel's statement that Serbia would have to "abolish parallel institutions in the north", among other conditions, in order to become a candidate for EU membership. Northern Kosovo has a Serb majority that rejects the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration of independence, and the authority of the government in Pristina. Ivanovic believes that "it will be hard to remove" the Serbs' local self-governments, "because they have no alternative to that, especially in the north": "In the north there only those parallel institutions and I think it will be much easier for the international community and Pristina to accept them as interlocutors, because they will not have any others." Asked what would happen if by March Serbia did not make progress in what the EU required regarding Kosovo, Ivanovic said that some EU countries decided "fairly easily" to apply additional pressure on Serbia. "That gave the results that it gave, and those are that nobody here was, so to speak, committing suicide and pulling their hair because we were not given (EU membership) candidate status. We will simply carry on with or without the candidature. The EU remains a strategic goal. We cannot implement social and institutional and behavioral changes without the help and if you will a mild pressure from the EU," said he. But this official noted that "strong pressure" caused "counter-effects" with Serbians: "It's no wonder that euro-skepticism is growing, because we believe that the pressure is ever increasing and that it is not principled, and that there was no such pressure on others who found themselves in our situation." According to Ivanovic, "a lot of time remains until March to make progress in what Brussels is demanding", and that "an important and legitimate partner in that will be Serbs from northern Kosovo". The government, he concluded, "will have to talk to them more". (Beta, file)

Official urges "accepting of institutions in north"

Unlike German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Serbia views the issue of what parallel institutions are differently, he stated, and added that this was "legitimate, because it is about a part of territory that Serbia considers its own".

"That mwans we have both the constitutional right and obligation to offer to the people (in Kosovo) all those services available to any other citizens in other parts of our territory. Health care and education cannot be parallel institutions under any circumstances, and what international representatives and even Mrs. Merkel insist, I think relates to the local self-government," said Ivanović.

He was commenting on Merkel's statement that Serbia would have to "abolish parallel institutions in the north", among other conditions, in order to become a candidate for EU membership.

Northern Kosovo has a Serb majority that rejects the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration of independence, and the authority of the government in Priština.

Ivanović believes that "it will be hard to remove" the Serbs' local self-governments, "because they have no alternative to that, especially in the north":

"In the north there only those parallel institutions and I think it will be much easier for the international community and Priština to accept them as interlocutors, because they will not have any others."

Asked what would happen if by March Serbia did not make progress in what the EU required regarding Kosovo, Ivanović said that some EU countries decided "fairly easily" to apply additional pressure on Serbia.

"That gave the results that it gave, and those are that nobody here was, so to speak, committing suicide and pulling their hair because we were not given (EU membership) candidate status. We will simply carry on with or without the candidature. The EU remains a strategic goal. We cannot implement social and institutional and behavioral changes without the help and if you will a mild pressure from the EU," said he.

But this official noted that "strong pressure" caused "counter-effects" with Serbians:

"It's no wonder that euro-skepticism is growing, because we believe that the pressure is ever increasing and that it is not principled, and that there was no such pressure on others who found themselves in our situation."

According to Ivanović, "a lot of time remains until March to make progress in what Brussels is demanding", and that "an important and legitimate partner in that will be Serbs from northern Kosovo". The government, he concluded, "will have to talk to them more".

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