Belgrade and Pristina officials will continue their talks in Brussels tonight, with the Serbian and Kosovo presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci respectively having separate meetings with Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
According to yesterday’s EU statement announcing the meeting in Brussels, the EU leaders expect Vucic and Thaci to “confirm their readiness to intensify efforts to reach a legally binding agreement on the normalization of relations,” which Brussels considers “essential” for the further European integration of Serbia and Kosovo.
According to reports from Brussels, the situation ahead of today’s meeting is “problematic” due to Pristina’s “custom tariff increase on goods from Serbia”, but it is nevertheless the two sides are expected to step up efforts in negotiations. Thaci and Vucic are scheduled to meet Federica Mogherini around 6 pm, with a joint meeting held after that.
The President of Serbia assessed yesterday that the talks would be “very difficult” and stressed that, following Kosovo’s unilaterally increasing customs duty on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, he expects “to ensure the implementation of the CEFTA agreement”, Vucic told reporters in Helsinki, where he is taking part in the European People’s Party (EPP) Summit.
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Hashim Thaci also expects tough talks, and he told the media that he would rather negotiate with the devil than with Vucic. “I expect to the talks to be difficult because my Serbian counterpart is a serious interlocutor and at the same time under pressure. I can say that I would rather sit at a table and talk to the devil than with Aleksandar Vucic because he is doing everything he can to destroy Kosovo’s sovereignty. Of course, I will endure this, but that is not enough in dealing with Serbia,” Thaci told the Kosovapres Agency. Thaci avoided commenting on the decision of the Kosovo government to introduce a 10 per cent higher customs duty on products imported from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, arguing that “each institution independently makes decisions and bears responsibility for them”.
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