Serbia: EU accession project in exchange for Kosovo?

Serbia: EU accession project in exchange for Kosovo?

The EU-sponsored and long-stalled dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo could be unblocked next year if statements published in some regional media about the existence of a new EU project are officially confirmed.

Negotiations to normalize relations between the two countries have stalled and fewer of the agreements signed have been implemented. In eleven years of talks, Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo has never been considered.

A Kosovar website, Albanian Post, reported that after the engagement of German and French envoys, a new project to normalize relations had been drawn up.

According to this site, the project envisages Belgrade accepting Kosovo’s independence without formally recognizing it, in exchange for certain financial benefits and the prospect of EU membership.

According to the same source, in 10 years, when the next group of EU candidates is likely to join the Union, a formal mutual recognition agreement would be concluded and activated before the entire region joins.

It would also include recognition of Kosovo’s independence by the five EU countries that have not yet ratified it (Greece, Slovakia, Spain, Romania and Cyprus), while Serbia benefited from a “significant financial support and would be recognized asleading force in the region».

Although the authenticity of this project has still not been officially confirmed, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic recently stated that he “read this document but, knowing what would happen, refused to acknowledge itby EU Special Envoy for Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak during his visit to Belgrade.

«I have enough experience to know that I should not acknowledge this paper. »

Speaking at a Kosovo debate in the Serbian parliament, Mr Vucic said that during his tenure, ie over the next four and a half years, the former Serbian province, which declared independence in 2008, will not be recognized and will join the UN.

A few days later, while promoting the youngest generation of Serbian army officers in downtown Belgrade, Mr Vucic said: “we will not leave Kosovo or any other part of our homeland to anyone».

«Those who threaten Serbia never understood how determined and determined we are to keep what is oursVucic said without specifying who was threatening Belgrade and why he felt the need to reiterate that Serbia would not extradite Kosovo.

What also piqued the audience’s curiosity was that in a patriotic song performed during a program break, the verse that defines Kosovo, “the soul of Serbiawas replaced by the phrase “to all heroes of Serbia».

The songwriter said the Kosovo segment was removed at the request of the Ministry of Defence, a claim the ministry immediately dismissed as there were different versions of the same song.

The EU is getting more involved

The Albanian Post wrote that this project “a new frameResult of the direct involvement of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the dialogue, after EU leaders appeared to conclude that “Kosovo and Serbia will never be able to solve the problem alone».

To soften the blow, Belgrade would not have to recognize independence in the first decade of the agreement, only accept it. In fact, the status of Kosovo in Serbia remains a very sensitive issue.

This would be enough for the authors of the project, since the question of Serbia’s EU membership will not be on the agenda for some time.

However, this would mean that Belgrade refrains from pushing for non-recognition of Kosovo’s independence and opposing Pristina’s membership in international organizations.

This would allow Kosovo to join the Council of Europe, then Interpol and UNESCO, then NATO and the EU, and finally the United Nations.

This UN membership would obviously be more problematic, as it would depend not only on Belgrade but also on the position of Russia, which Moscow continues to state is ready to thwart any initiative of this kind.

For its part, Pristina would agree to allow the establishment of the Union of Serbian Municipalities at the end of the 10-year period, just before mutual recognition. This union would see the creation of a Serb structure in Kosovo, backed by Belgrade, which Pristina says violates its constitution and, moreover, has failed in other countries, notably Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The draft also provides a precise procedure in case Belgrade or Pristina do not accept the document, but these details have not been made public.

No clear confirmation of the reliability of the document

Although almost all parties mentioned in the article, except Pristina, have commented on the document in question, its authenticity has never been confirmed or denied.

However, Pristina media claim that Kosovar journalist Baton Haxhiu, known for his close ties to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, is behind the article and website. Because of this, the document is considered reliable.

The EU declined to comment, but political experts note that neither the content nor the authenticity of the document have been denied.

EU foreign and security policy spokesman Peter Stano said the EU generally does not comment on documents released by unofficial sources.

Asked about the project in question, US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said his country will support the EU in its efforts to find a solution within the framework of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, as this problem has been going on for too long. long and had to be solved.

No clear position from the analysts on the implementation of this project

Political analysts on both sides are divided on the document’s reliability, let alone the viability of its implementation, although they all agree that for the first time in many years, the international community is poised to shake things up.

Belgrade-based political scientist Dusan Janjic believes several documents are in circulation. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the West is reinforcementsfor Kosovo precisely because he had seen one of these documents.

«The United States insists on a new model and this document exists. The timetable mentioned in this document fully corresponds to the operating methodology of the American administration.said Mr. Janjic.

He said that if the document is not accepted and the conflict continues, Washington will employ “Plan B,” which includes conflict management and US-controlled destabilization, after which Washington will impose a solution on the two parties.

Former Serbian Kosovo Minister Slobodan Samardzic said the released document is not a working basis for a solution, but rather a way to increase pressure on Belgrade.

«It is a document based print. This is a new phase on the same topic. There is nothing new, but if this project comes about, it will be unprecedentedsaid Mr. Samardzic.

On the other hand, former Kosovo Deputy Foreign Minister Valon Murtezaj sees the project as having little chance of success because, as he put it, “Serbia’s destructive stance“what he for”an unreliable contact».

In his opinion, one should not wait a decade for the recognition of Kosovo, because Belgrade would use this time to put pressure on Kosovo abroad.

Former Kosovan diplomat Lulzim Peci finds some provisions of the draft highly controversial and suspicious, including the proposal to recognize Serbia as the political and economic leader.

«This terminology does not exist in contemporary legal acts because it implies the legalization of hegemony and the violation of the principle of international law of equality of states… It is rather a text designed to gratify the egos of regional leaders who believe they can dominate their neighborssaid Mr. Peci.

Perhaps the most mysterious part of the story is the behavior of Pristina, which has been completely silent on the subject. However, Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti is known to advocate immediate recognition of Kosovo as a prerequisite for negotiations with Serbia.

Analysts believe this could indicate that the international community has made it clear to him that this is a serious project and that it would not be politically prudent for him to reject it, even if it doesn’t entirely suit him.


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