EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Thursday that it is time for Serbia and Kosovo to show courage and responsibility, and agree on the normalization of relations.
Borrell's remarks came in a blog post ahead of the next round of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina that will be held on March 18 in North Macedonia.
"This is the time for the leaders of Kosovo, Serbia, and of the entire Western Balkans to show courage and to demonstrate shared responsibility for the success of the EU accession process of the region," said Borrell.
According to Borrell, the next meeting will be different from previous meetings.
"We will focus our discussion on the Implementation Annex of the recent EU Agreement that will result in the far-reaching normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Both together will, in essence, result in the normalization of life of people in the region and open Kosovo’s and Serbia’s respective paths towards joining the EU," said Borrell.
Borrell said that the EU is not a simple note-taker but a facilitator in this dialogue.
"The EU is the eventual home for Serbia and Kosovo. I will continue to work tirelessly towards eventually reaching a comprehensive agreement on the normalization of relations that is acceptable to EU member states, is in line with international law and the European acquis, and contributes to regional stability. The agreement on the table is an important step towards that objective," said Borrell.
Borrell added that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine changed the picture and the dialogue is not only about Kosovo and Serbia.
"It must be seen in the current broader geopolitical context, a defining moment in European history," said Borrell.
The EU announced on Feb. 27 that Serbia and Kosovo had agreed to sign a proposal to normalize ties after a meeting between Albanian Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
- Serbia-Kosovo dialogue
Launched in 2011, the EU-led Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue aims to find a mutually agreeable solution for disputes in the framework of a legally binding agreement.
Following a flareup in border tensions last summer, Lajcak presented the bloc’s latest proposal on normalizing relations in September.
The EU requires Kosovo and Serbia to reach a final agreement and resolve disputes to progress in their integration into the bloc.
Most UN member states, including the US, UK, France, Germany and Türkiye, recognized Kosovo as a separate country after it declared independence from Serbia 15 years ago.
Serbia continues to regard it as its territory.
Vucic said last October that Germany and France had offered to expedite Serbia’s EU membership process if it recognized Kosovo’s independence and allowed it to become a member of international organizations.
According to the leaked proposal, Kosovo should, for its part, allow the establishment of a union of Serbian municipalities in the north, where many ethnic Serbs live.
EU officials hope to complete negotiations on the plan this spring with Brussels facilitating the talks.