PRISTINA – “There are five European countries that do not recognize Kosovo and it is not my job to convince them to recognize it. The EU recognizes Kosovo and I represent the EU and not one country. I act as a representative of the Union. We will not impose any agreement”, said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell today, reports Tanjug.
According to him, what the EU sees and recognizes is the relationship between Belgrade and Pristina that can only be resolved between the two sides. “The solution can only be reached through mutual dialogue”, stressed Borrell.
The High EU Representative began his first visit to the Western Balkans region today in Pristina. He met with Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi. “I expressed disappointment to the High EU Representative Borrel over visa the for Kosovo citizens and for double standards in relation to us, despite meeting all criteria on our part”, wrote Thaçi in a Facebook post.
“I cannot tell you the day when visa liberalization will come, but what I can confirm is that Kosovo has fulfilled all the conditions for visa liberalization. It is high time we continued that process and completed it”, Borrell commented.
Borrell also met with political party leaders and representatives of the civil sector. Albin Kurti, the leader of the Vetevendosje (Self-determination movement), who has recently been given a formal mandate to try to form a government. In a Twitter post, Kurti assessed that the dialogue with Belgrade, halted in November 2018 after Pristina introduced 100 percent taxes on goods from Serbia, “must be reviewed and renewed”.
Fruitful discussion today with #EU HR @JosepBorrellF on his first visit to #Kosova. I affirmed that EU-facilitated dialogue must be reviewed & renewed. EU is a force for good and remains indispensable for the future of the region. pic.twitter.com/w4MJgijcT4
— Albin Kurti (@albinkurti) January 30, 2020
The Democratic Party of Kosovo (LDK) boycotted the meeting of parliamentary parties with Borrell, Tanjug reported. As the leader of LDK Kadri Veseli explained to Gazeta Express, having the meeting is pointless at the present moment when Pristina has not established the new institutions after the elections. Therefore, reckons Veseli, any initiative to renew the dialogue with Belgrade is “outdated and unsustainable”.
The Head of the European Union Office in Pristina Natalia Apostolova welcomed Borrell’s visit to Pristina today. According to Tanjug, Apostolova reminded that the EU facilitates dialogue based on Security Council Resolution 1244 and said that assistance from any other party, individual, or state was welcomed in the dialogue process. She stressed that the efforts of the US Presidential Special Envoy for the Dialogue of Belgrade and Pristina, Richard Grenell, are welcome, but also that the EU will fulfill its obligations regarding the dialogue, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.
Borell today also met with the head of the Serbian List, Goran Rakić. ”The Serbian List will not stand in the way of institution-building in Kosovo, and it will continue the dialogue as soon as possible, but it will also require respect for the rights of the Serbian people in Kosovo”, it was stated a press release by the Serbian List.
Ahead of Borrell’s visit, his spokesman, Peter Stano, recalled that Borrell “repeatedly emphasized determination and personal involvement as a mediator in the dialogue”. In a telephone conversation with the Presidents of Kosovo and Serbia earlier this month, Borrell stressed the importance of working to renew talks, reports AlJazeera Balkans.
Borrell will also visit Belgrade tomorrow, where he will meet with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić during the day.