“Danas”: EU without mechanisms to sanction Kosovo over tariffs

New Born sign in Pristina Kosovo: CC BY-SA 2.0; Gebäude der UNMIK NEW BORN SIGN PRISTINA KOSOVO Giv Owned Image 23 August 2008.jpg

BELGRADE – EU member states, including Germany, won’t take any individual steps towards sanctioning Kosovo authorities for imposing tariffs of 100% on imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, writes Danas.

According to the newspaper, “EU has said everything it wanted on the subject, Brussels expects from Pristina to act without delay and revoke the decision”. Majority of Danas’s interlocutors believe that, despite a strong public condemnation of Kosovo’s authorities actions, EU “almost certainly” won’t sanction Pristina because “it lacks mechanisms for such a move”.

Tim Judah, British journalist and Western Balkans expert, stated for Danas that “because Kosovo lacks capability for a diplomatic battle, such as the one undertaken by Serbia in the cases of Interpol and revoking recognition of Kosovo, this is the only way for Kosovo to fight in a way that would hurt Serbia”.

“Kosovo is punishing Bosnia as well because it demands visas for its citizens. I am not sure whether the decision on tariffs will be revoked soon, and why should it be? Discussions between Thaçi and Vučić are at a standstill, and Serbia is waging a diplomatic war against Kosovo. The thing that Kosovo wants from EU is visa liberalisation, but it seems that many countries are ready to veto it, so the EU does not have many instruments at its disposal. The majority of products Kosovo buys from Serbia – consumer goods, can be found elsewhere”, said Judah.

Edita Tahiri, former chief negotiator with Belgrade on behalf of Pristina, stated that “this is a response of Kosovo to Serbia’s aggressive approach against the state of Kosovo in international arena and for abuse of the Brussels agreement”.

“Until Serbia changes its approach and starts respecting European principles of good neigbourly relations and the spirit of Brussels agreement, I do not expect the decision on tariffs to be revoked. EU has never sanctioned Serbia for its abuses against Kosovo, so it does not have credibility to sanction Kosovo”, Tahiri stressed.

Franc Bogovič, Member of European Parliament for European People’s Party, believes that the decision is a step in a “absolutely wrong direction”.

“This move is violating the spirit of cooperation, which would deepen the understanding and strengthen the relations between the two countries, which is strongly promoted by the EU. This is why this decision goes against everything promoted by the EU in the region of Western Balkans”, he said.

Ivo Vajgl, MEP from Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament stated for Danas that imposing tariffs “with the aim of sharpening political issues is not acceptable and contrary to the principles of international economic and political cooperation”.

“Since we know what motives are behind this decision, I underline that the European future is the property of all countries in the South Eastern Europe. Without a sincere and active approach to solving open problems, all candidate countries for EU membership are loosing. The problems are solved through dialogue, not campaigns”, Vajgl remarked.