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Lajčák’s interview for EWB caused a scandal over the map of the Western Balkans

EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajčak; Photo: EWB SCREENING

BRUSSELS / PRISTINA – Criticism from Pristina against the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajčák, followed a guest appearance on the European Western Balkans show “Screening”, because, as it is stated, the map that was behind him, which allegedly shows Kosovo as part of Serbia.

After the Pristina portal Klan Kosova published an article entitled “Lajčák returns Kosovo to Serbia”, the news was reported in a large number of Kosovo media, and numerous attacks by journalists and officials followed. For example, Meliza Haradinaj, the outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of Kosovo, announced on her Twitter account that she had sent a new map to the EU Special Representative for the dialogue.

“Maps matter. I realized that you need an accurate map of the Western Balkans, so I sent you one by diplo courier. Working with “zombie” maps is utterly unprofessional, hence the deficiencis. The longer you avert the map I gifted you, the longer your work will be a failure,” Haradinaj wrote.

The criticism came after Lajčák announced a visit to Belgrade and Pristina during the show. Director of the Klan Kosova portal, Adriatik Kelmendi, said on Twitter that Lajčák should apologize for giving an interview while sitting in front of a map showing Kosovo as part of Serbia, or that no one should greet him on Monday when he visits Kosovo.

 

That the map is not appropriate, said the EP rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, who pointed out that the map was “not helpful”.

“I would not use such a map. But this is surely not my office,” von Cramon-Taubadel wrote.

Miroslav Lajčák and EU spokesperson Peter Stano spoke out about the attack and pointed out that the mentioned map is the official EU map of the Western Balkans.

“The claim about the map is totally misplaced and false. This official EU map is – in line with the EU position – status neutral. I would recommend everyone to focus on real issues that help to advance the dialogue on normalization, instead of trying to make up false stories,” Stano wrote on his Twitter account..

“To je zvanična mapa EU Zapadnog Balkana. Kosovo je tu, kao i linija koja razdvaja Kosovo od Srbije”, napisao je Lajčak.

In addition, Lajčák posted photos of the map on his Twitter account on February 25, and pointed out that “as the map in my office in the blurred screenshot of my interview has caused some misperceptions today, I am sharing an actual close-up photo of it”.

“It is the official EU map of the Western Balkans. Kosovo is there and so is the line separating Kosovo from Serbia,” Lajčák wrote.

On the other hand, the pro-government media in Serbia state that “the map drove Albanians crazy during Lajčák’s interview.” They described EU spokesperson Peter Stano’s statement that the map was status neutral as a “slap in the face to Kosovo from Brussels”.

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