Saturday

28th May 2022

Push for Serbia EU accession speed-up in wake of Kosovo court ruling

A number of EU states are in favour of speeding up Serbia's EU accession process in the wake of Belgrade's loss at the International Court of Justice over Kosovo's declaration of independence.

The foreign ministers of Italy, Slovakia and Austria pushed for such a move heading into Monday's meeting of EU foreign ministers, the first time EU governments discussed the implications of the ICJ's finding last week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Ahead of the day's meeting, Italian foreign policy chief Franco Frattini told reporters: "At a time when we should understand Serbia's disappointment ... we need to help a sincere pro-European like [Serbian President Boris] Tadic with very positive message."

On 22 July, the International Court of Justice in the Hague opined that Kosovo had not violated international law by declaring independence in 2008.

"It could not have been today ... but the very positive message would be the handing over of Serbia's EU application to the European Commission," he said, referring to the next step in the process, in which the Council, representing the member states, request an evaluation of the application.

"Belgrade deserves a message of encouragement, such as the European path remaining open with no further preconditions," he said.

Austria's foreign minister, Michael Spindelegger, also suggested some movement on Serbia's accession prospects was warranted.

"The important thing for Serbia is that we make their prospect of progress towards Europe concrete," he said, hinting that the autumn would be an appropriate time for such a move.

Using similar language, Slovakia, one of the EU's five member states refusing to recognise Kosovar independence, also argued for a "concrete roadmap" for Serbian accession.

Asked about a speed-up in the process, Slovak foreign minister Mikulas Dzurinda told reporters after the meeting: "I am for this ... This direction in relations between Belgrade and the EU community I consider substantial."

"We need to keep Belgrade with us more closely than before. We will do our best to add our voice to this, giving something like a concrete roadmap."

"The closer Serbia is to the EU, the better for Serbia, the Balkans and the EU, so I won't put put any barriers in the way."

A Romanian diplomat also suggested there had been a discussion focussing on the need "to keep the rhythm up," while adding: "it is too much to say speeding anything up."

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also downplayed the idea of any quid pro quo for Belgrade's loss at the International Court of Justice.

"There was a discussion on the back of the ICJ opinion and of support for talks with Pristina and Belgrade, but there was no discussion of speed or anything of that nature."

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us