Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daily says that EU has new conditions for Serbia

BELGRADE -- Belgrade-based daily Politika is writing that the EU has given Serbia three new conditions in order for the country to begin accession talks.
The newspaper is basing its report on "unofficial sources in Belgrade", and says those conditions were recently delivered by EU official Miroslav Lajčak.
They include the dismantling of Serbian institutions in northern Kosovo - "but not schools, heath centers and hospitals", notes Politika - the opening of representative offices in Belgrade and Priština, and "a meeting at the highest level" between Belgrade and Priština.

Furthermore, according to this, the European Union also demands that Serbia "shut down the court in Kosovska Mitrovica", and for a separate calling code for Kosovo to be introduced.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians in early 2008 unilaterally declared independence, a proclamation which Serbia rejects as illegal. Furthermore, the northern part of Kosovo is inhabited by majority Serb population that rejects the authority of the government in Priština.

At the same time, five out of the EU's 27 member states do not recognize Kosovo as independent.

In March 2011 the two sides started first direct talks, sponsored by the EU, in what is known as the Kosovo dialogue.

The now outgoing Serbian government appointed Borislav Stefanović as its chief negotiator, who now says that the opening of a government office in Priština, and one of Kosovo in Belgrade, "was never mentioned during the dialogue".

"This has not been mentioned either formally or informally, and if it had been brought up, our answer would have been clear," Stefanović said on Monday.

Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović also reacted by telling Belgrade daily Večernje Novosti that he has "daily contacts with representatives of the international community, the EU and other institutions, and that this condition was never made".

Deputy PM and interior minister in the outgoing cabinet and leader of the SPS party Ivica Dačić recently noted that a new government will be expected to open its office in Priština. On Sunday, he said that he would not join a government that faces such a request, or accepts it, and that international political factors must "inform" all factors on Serbia's political scene of what type of conditions are being put before Serbia in order to join the EU.

Politika further writes that Miroslav Lajčak recently published an article in EU Observer to say that priority must be given to "normalization of relations with Priština" on Serbia's "road to EU", and that "many (Serbian) representatives attempted to establish a balance between the national interest in European interactions and that issue". But, concluded he, "that is no longer the way that leads forward".

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