Monday

1st May 2017

Nikolic: EU does not demand Kosovo recognition

  • Nikolic took power in May from EU darling Tadic in a surprise twist (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Serbia's new leader has said his country can one day join the EU without recognising Kosovo.

Tomislav Nikolic made the remarks after meeting top EU officials in Brussels on Thursday (14 June) on his first state trip after his inauguration on Monday.

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.

"I was assured that the European Union will not demand from us to recognise Kosovo officially, but will demand from us to have better relations [with it]. That's good for us all. I don't know. Maybe you know these people better than I do. But I do believe them," he told press.

On day-to-day relations with Kosovo, he said he will screen previous agreements before deciding whether to honour them.

"I [will] support all agreements that are not against the constitutional order of Serbia and that are not harmful to Serbian citizens ... We have to have some clarifications from our negotiator in Belgrade about some critical points," he said.

The deals - on issues such as customs checkpoints or exchange of land registries - were brokered by EU diplomats and endorsed by Nikolic's pro-EU predecessor Boris Tadic.

Some details - whether Kosovar customs officers can wear national insignia, whether documents refer to "border management" or "boundary management" - are significant in terms Serbia's non-recognition of Kosovo's independence.

Nikolic came to Brussels under a cloud.

The former Slobodan Milosevic ally said in the run-up to his EU debut that the town of Vukovar in Croatia belongs to Serbs. He also said that Srebrenica - which EU institutions designate as a Serb "genocide" of Muslims - was not genocide.

On the day, he told European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso that EU membership is his top priority and that he aims to start accession talks in autumn.

For his part, Barroso said "normalisation of Serbia's relations with Kosovo remains an absolutely central condition of moving to the next step [accession talks]."

When asked what he thinks of the Vukovar and Srebrenica statements, Barroso voiced general sympathy for people the region.

"We are speaking about a part of Europe that has lived extremely painful experiences ... in the not so distant past. We have to think of the young people in this region who want to travel, who want to study, who want to work. This is the most important," he said.

The commission the same day gave Kosovo a "roadmap" of what it has to do to get EU visa-free travel in future.

The move comes amid popular feeling in Kosovo that Kosovar Albanians were the victims of Serb aggression but that EU-Serbia integration is moving faster.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU

Beijing special envoy on the Syrian conflict said in Brussels that "imposing" a solution from the outside would "not be workable" and that the peace process will not be "smooth sailing".

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EU boasts unity on Brexit talks
  2. May’s election juggernaut
  3. EPP scolds Orban over university and NGO laws
  4. Oxford-Studie besorgt über 'Schrott' News in Frankreich
  5. Alte Freundschaft zwischen Le Pen und Putin
  6. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  7. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  8. One year later: EU right to open internet still virtual