One of the most important political events in Balkans this past year was Serbia and Kosovo tentative deal to normalise relations. In late April and with help and sponsorship from EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton both agree not to block each other’s bids to join international organisations. Belgrade-Pristina agreement is crucial historical moment through which both sides are showing willingness to resolve remaining issues through diplomacy and talks. Last time open issues were resolved through military action. In 1999 Serbia’s leader was Slobodan Milošević former boss to today’s PM Dačić, and Kosovo’s PM Thaci was commander of Kosovo Liberation Army.
“I want to congratulate (both sides) for the determination, over this months, and for the courage they have. It’s very important, that what we are seeing is a step away from the past and for both of them a step closer to Europe,” said Ashton in April.
The EU wanted Serbia to improve ties with its neighbour before it can open negotiations to join bloc. Ending the partition of Kosovo between the Albanian majority and the Serb-controlled north is a key condition. This agreement is the first step in that process.
Following this agreement Kosovo for the first time since independence some five years ago organized municipal elections which included Serbian enclaves on the North. Despite objections from radical Serbs, political parties from Belgrade and local power brokers elections were successful and Serbian political forces are finally incorporated in Kosovo’s political system.
On the other side for the first time since Serbian announced it’s intention to apply for full EU membership Germany and United Kingdom supported and encouraged Serbia to continue good work. In that light Germany gave a green light to EU to start negotiations with Serbia as early as January of 2014.
“The decision that Serbia begins negotiations over the EU membership marks beginning of realization of a generation dream”, while at the same time “the national interests have not been sacrificed”, said PM Dačić.
Dačić announced that he and the First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić would participate at the first inter-government conference with the EU. He thinks that Serbia shall become a member of the European Union more rapidly than any other country.