During this official visit to Serbia and following the meeting with the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, the Austrian president, Alexander Van der Bellen said that Serbia was the leading candidate for EU accession and that new chapters in accession negotiations should be opened at the EU summit in December this year.
In terms of Kosovo issue, Van der Bellen said that he was aware of different positions experts have on the land swap proposal. The position of Austria is that if there is a peaceful, mutually acceptable solution, it must be considered with great benevolence.
“The emphasis is on a peaceful solution of two sides”, said Austrian President at a joint press conference.
After a talk with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, Van der Bellen underlined that EU did not want to accept new members with unresolved bilateral and border issues.
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“I hope you will understand that open bilateral issues have to be resolved before the membership. That should not be interpreted as some kind of a special reservation EU has towards Serbia. The Union simply had two bad experiences and does not want to repeat them for the third time. The first one was Cyprus and the second one Slovenia-Croatia border dispute”, Van der Bellen explained.
The Serbian president said that he was told by his Austrian counterpart that the EU has internal problems and could not afford to import new problems which meant that a solution to the Kosovo problem was one of the conditions for Serbia’s accession to the Union.
“One of the conditions for Serbia to become a member of the EU is for Belgrade and Pristina to solve their problems. No-one can guarantee if we will succeed in that despite the will we have shown in trying to reach a compromise solution, but we will try,” Vucic said.
Vucic also said that he asked Van der Bellen to help with Austria making more restrained decisions about Kosovo, especially when it comes to Kosovo’s membership in Interpol and forming an army, and to wait for “the possibility of a compromised agreement.”
The Serbian President also warned that admitting Kosovo into Interpol would be a decision without any positive consequences and that it would cause at least two more problems.
This post is also available in: Italiano