22nd Jan 2018

Slovenia hopes for Kosovo solution by end of presidency

Slovenia is hoping the status of the Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo will be solved by the end of its EU presidency in June, and has indicated that an outcome other than independence for the province is unlikely.

Legally still a part of Serbia, Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since 1999 and wants full independence from Belgrade.

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  • Prizren - Kosovo's second biggest city (Photo: wikipedia)

"For Kosovo it's clear what will happen, it's more a question of how to do it", Slovenian prime minister Janez Jansa told journalists on Monday (7 January) in Ljubljana.

It is "obvious" that a solution that satisfies both parties cannot be found and "it's not possible" to force Serbs and Kosovars to live together after the way ethnic Albanians were treated during the regime of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, Mr Jansa was reported as saying by AFP.

Kosovo will probably not obtain "total independence" right away though, he added.

It is likely to remain internationally supervised and dependent on NATO troops to guarantee its internal security.

While avoiding giving a concrete timetable, the Slovene premier has expressed the hope that the future status of Kosovo would be solved by the end of June – when his country's presidency of the 27-member bloc comes to an end, according to French daily Liberation.

Further developments on the thorny issue are unlikely before the Serbian presidential elections, which take place on 20 January and 3 February.

The EU is still struggling to come up with a common position on Kosovo, with Mr Jansa stating that "it won't be easy" to reach a unified stance among the 27 EU members.

While a large majority of member states are ready to recognise an independent Kosovo, some – such as Cyprus, Greece and Slovakia – are still reluctant to do so fearing this may set a precedent for other separatist regions.

Besides Kosovo, Slovenia is hoping to make headway on another sensitive dossier during its presidency.

It will try to push ahead with Turkey's EU accession talks, despite opposition from some member states, notably France.

"We will try and enter negotiations on some new chapters" with Turkey, Mr Jansa said, but did not give any guarantees that there would be progress.

The opening of legislative chapters to be negotiated on the way to EU membership has to be approved by all national capitals.

"Of course we need total support from other member states. We will work on that but we cannot guarantee the outcome", the Slovene premier added, according to Reuters.

EU ushers Macedonia to come closer

The European commission has said it would restore full-throated support for Macedonia to start accession talks if it kept up reform.

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