Thursday

25th May 2017

Germany warns Serbia on EU accession prospects

  • The bridge between Kosovo proper and Serb-run Mitrovica is a symbol of de facto partition (Photo: morbin)

Germany has warned Serbia that its EU accession prospects hang on a result in the ongoing negotiations on Kosovo.

A German government spokesman told EUobserver in Berlin on Wednesday (3 April): "We regret that the talks between Serbia and Kosovo … have so far remained without an agreement."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He added: "It is important for both sides to maintain the dialogue. A result would be useful for both sides, also in view of the next steps in Serbia's EU rapprochement."

He spoke following cranky talks between Kosovar and Serb leaders in Brussels on Tuesday.

The two sides are trying to agree on "normalisation of relations" in the wake of Kosovo's declaration of independence five years ago.

The big sticking point is what to do about north Kosovo.

The ethnic Serb enclave rejects Pristina's rule and its security services make it a no-go zone for Kosovar police.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci on Tuesday that ethnic Serb enclaves should be governed by an autonomous Association of Serb Municipalities.

He said ethnic Serb security services could become part of normal Kosovo police if local Serb leaders get to nominate the Serb police chiefs.

But Thaci refused, citing Kosovo's constitution on territorial integrity.

The meeting lasted 12 hours.

At one point, Serbian deputy prime minister Aleksander Vucic started yelling at Thaci and offered to resign.

Dacic later told reporters "the atmosphere was a little tense … [but] there was a lot of progress."

Thaci told press: "I want to stress once again that the association of municipalities in the north will not have legislative or executive powers."

The event, chaired by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, marked the end of a formal "EU-facilitated dialogue."

But Dacic and Thaci promised to consult with their national administrations and to report back in a few days.

Thaci added he is willing to meet Dacic "next week" if Serbia budges.

EU leaders will decide at a summit in June whether to open accession talks with Serbia.

But an earlier deadline is 16 April, when the European Commission is due to file a report on whether Serbia has done enough to merit the step.

Germany is the main decision maker on Western Balkan enlargement.

But other countries are also trying to shape events.

A UK government spokesman told EUobserver: "It’s now crucial that both sides make further progress, notably with regards to the dismantling of illegal Serbian structures in northern Kosovo.”

The US, which led a bombing campaign against Serbia in the Balkan wars, endorsed Thaci's point of view.

A spokesperson at the US mission to the EU said: "We encourage both sides to seize this extraordinary opportunity to reach an agreement that opens their respective paths to European integration."

They added: "The December 2012 conclusions of the European Council lay out what needs to happen in this respect."

The 11 December conclusions say that a north Kosovo solution must ensure "a single institutional and administrative set up within Kosovo."

Agenda

EU elections on the agenda this WEEK

European Parliament elections will feature on the agenda this week after a poll to choose 12 new MEPs in Croatia on Sunday.

EU urges Turkey to investigate election fraud

The EU called for a transparent investigation into alleged irregularities during the referendum in Turkey, which gave sweeping powers to president Erdogan. It added that reinstating the death penalty would end the country's EU bid.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  2. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  3. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  4. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  5. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  6. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  7. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  8. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms

Latest News

  1. EU to Trump: Defend Western values, not your interests
  2. Nato to join Trump's anti-IS coalition
  3. Trump expected to make Nato pledge
  4. Car-sharing's promise of clean cities
  5. Openness over Brexit is 'political play', says EU ombudsman
  6. Le Pen's EU group in fresh spending scandal
  7. New EU right to data portability to cause headaches
  8. Cyber threats are inevitable, paralyzing impact is not