Wednesday, February 22, 2012

President "not optimistic" ahead of EU decision

BELGRADE -- Boris Tadić said in Belgrade on Wednesday that he "cannot express optimism" when it comes to Serbia's chances of being made a candidate for EU membership.
Boris Tadić (file)
Boris Tadić (file)
The European Union is to announce its decision on March 1, but the Serbian president stated that a solution for "the problem of Kosovo and Metohija" was today "a little farther away than it was last night".
"The situation is worse compared to last night because of the way Priština is putting forward proposals," Tadić told reporters in Belgrade, specifying that the proposal in question was "out of touch with reality".

The president conceded that Serbia will find it "very difficult" to become candidate, but vowed to "make an effort until the last moment".

"It is not up to us alone, it depends on each EU member state", said the president, reiterating that the country will "never abandon its strategic goals contained in the 'both EU and Kosovo' formula".

Tadić stressed that it was "unthinkable" that the enlargement of the EU "perhaps also depends on Priština", which, he noted, "is not even a state in the classical international political sense, let alone an EU member".

Serbia will continue to insist on EU integrations and will protect its integrity in Kosovo, he said, and added that "in the coming days, it will be clearer if both goals can be achieved":

"We will see in the coming days whether that is politically sustainable. It will be a political test for me as well, and after all the conversations and negotiations, I will say what my position is on where to go from here."

The president described Serbia's problems in its attempts to join the EU as a consequence of "the imperfection of the political system in Europe, complexities of international relations, and everything that the region went through in the 1990s".

Asked whether the authorities made any decision regarding the holding of local elections in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, Tadić responded by saying, "across that bridge when we come to it", but added "decidedly" that Serbia will never give up on protecting its territorial integrity in Kosovo.

In the meantime in Brussels, delegations of the Serbian government and the Kosovo Albanian authorities from Priština are meeting for another round of the EU-sponsored dialogue, in an attempt to find a solution to the problem of Kosovo's representation in regional gatherings.

This round of talks was described as "key for Serbia's EU membership candidate bid". It was scheduled to take place on Tuesday but was postponed for today after the Priština team failed to show up in Brussels.

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