The Council of the European Union (EU) has requested the European Commission and High Representative, Josep Borrell, to urgently propose to the Council, before the end of January 2024, the amendments to the benchmarks of Chapter 35 of Serbia’s accession negotiations to reflect Serbia’s obligations stemming from the so-called Ohrid Agreement.
The Council of the EU further said that it welcomes the Agreement on the Path to Normalization between Kosovo and Serbia (so-called Ohrid Agreement), concluded on February 27 in Brussels, and its Implementation Annex agreed on March 18 in Ohrid and regrets the lack of implementation by both parties.
The conclusions read that the Council “calls on Serbia and Kosovo to fully respect and implement them, without further delay and preconditions. This includes the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb Majority Municipalities.
The Council welcomes Serbia’s and Kosovo’s readiness to accept the draft statute presented to the parties by the EU Facilitator, on the understanding that further work needs to be done on that basis.
“The Council notes that Serbia’s progress on the rule of law and the normalization of relations with Kosovo will continue to determine the overall pace of accession negotiations,” read the conclusions, in which the Council reiterated its concern over the situation in the media and the handling of war crimes in Serbia.
The Council said that it expects both Serbia and Kosovo to find a sustainable solution to the situation in the north of Kosovo that guarantees safety, security and participatory democracy for all citizens.
Serbia is expected to engage in the EU-facilitated Dialogue in good faith and in the spirit of compromise to achieve a comprehensive legally binding agreement with Kosovo on normalization of relations in accordance with international law and EU acquis with no further delay.
Serbia finds the Ohrid Agreement unacceptable in some parts, particularly Article 4 which states that ‘Serbia will not oppose Kosovo’s membership in any international organization’, thus including the United Nations, something that Serbia has been staunchly against. “If you include Kosovo’s UN membership as a part of Chapter 35, it is clear that you do not want Serbia. I do not believe that is possible, and I think such a decision will not be made”, the President of Serbia said on Friday.
Serbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, entered reservations to this notion saying that “Serbia’s clear red lines are the non-recognition of Kosovo and Metohija and the non-acceptance of Kosovo and Metohija as a member of the United Nations, as well as a member of the system of United Nations organizations and agencies.”
(Danas, N1, 14.12.2023)
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