Serbia becomes EU candidate, Kosovo “footnote” state

On Friday Serbia made decisive move towards accession talks opener after reaching a deal with its former province Kosovo, currently claiming independence, on regional cooperation, representation and border management. It took two sides quite some time to reach a deal backed by European Union, opening the doors of European Union to Serbia and securing Ksoovo’s place around the tables in major regional organizations and international meetings. As all sides express their satisfaction with reached agreement some political forces in Pristina and Belgrade were not so happy promising new actions against current governments in following weeks.

Agreement states that Kosovo will be able to attended all regional and international meetings, sign bi/multilateral agreements and provide more funds for its functioning and to elevate life standards in former Serbian province. By this agreement Kosovo will become “footnote” territory, would not be represented as a “Republic” or independent state but will join meetings under special status granted by UN resolution 1244. In a same time EU Commission proposed to launch a feasibility study for a Stabilisation and integration for Kosovo which will start Kosovo’s road to the full membership in this institution.

On the other side Serbia will be able to start their negotiations with EU as a final stretch to membership in EU, which were blocked by Germany, the Netherlands and UK until sides reach agreement on cooperation and border management. Border management agreement also contains clause which urges Serbian authorities to improve and stabilize relations with EU rule-of-law mission EULEX and NATO peacekeeping forces KFOR especially at the Kosovo’s north. As we know Kosovo’s north is mainly populated by ethnic Serbs defiant to accept Kosovo as independent state and fighting with KFOR forces on barricades for last few months.

Edita Tahiri (Kosovo negotiator) and Borislav Stefanovic (far right - Serbian negotiator) with EU mediator

Major European political representatives including UK and Germany foreign ministers welcomed agreement stating its importance for whole Western Balkans expressing hopes for better security and cooperation between neighboring nations. UK foreign affair minister William Hague said in his statement it was “crucial for ensuring that both Kosovo and Serbia continue their progress toward future membership of the European Union.” His German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, said that this agreement is very important step for setting the course for EU’s Tuesday’s debate on Serbia’s candidate status.

Over in Belgrade major opposition parties including DSS (Democratic Party of Serbia) and SRS (Serbian Radical Party) accused president Tadić and his government for treason and formal recognition of Kosovo as a state. Tadić’s strongest opponent in upcoming election battle SNS (Serbian Peoples Party) believes that Serbia’s candidate status will be granted on Tuesday. SNS deputy leader Aleksandar Vučić said candidate status doesn’t mean anything to the citizens and government will be toppled on upcoming elections due to bad results and inability to provide essential standards to the citizens.

While Kosovo’s PM Hashim Thaçi and his leading coalition are celebrating firmly sured this agreement means final step in the independence process his opposition is claim fail and calls for protests. Main opposition “Self-determination” movement leader Aljbin Kurti said he’s party will organize protests on Monday accusing PM Thaçi for privatization of the state and illegal acceptance of Friday agreement without parliament and Cabinet approval. Kurti as many others is accusing Thaçi for acceptance of “footnote” status as mistake and retreat from Kosovo’s full independence.


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