The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Albin Kurti, respectively, have refused to compromise at a fresh round of meetings meant to improve their bitter relations and they continue to jeopardize their chances of joining the European Union, the bloc’s top diplomat said on Thursday.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who has been supervising the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue process, said that negotiators had presented “a serious and balanced proposal” to overcome one of the main hurdles to putting their plan on normalizing ties into action.
“Unhappily, the parties were not ready to agree on that without preconditions,” Borrell said, and each side’s preconditions “were unacceptable (to) the other party.”
He insisted that respecting their pledges in the dialogue “is the only way for them to advance onto the European path” toward membership. Both countries have said they want to join the 27-nation bloc.
Despite the leaders of France, Germany and Italy weighing in, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic began trading blame for the lack of progress immediately after the talks in Brussels, much as they have done for months.
Thursday’s talks were chiefly aimed at putting into action an agreement that Vucic and Kurti reached in February, although the two have since raised issues with it. The idea was to work on new “proposals and ideas” floated in exploratory talks last weekend.
But Vucic and Kurti deeply distrust each other, and they are proving difficult for the EU to deal with.
Kurti said that during the meetings, Vucic had refused to sign their February agreement as well as an action plan for making that deal work.
“Acceptance entails a signature; only a signature entails acceptance and guarantees implementation,” Kurti said in a statement.
Vucic dismissed that claim as “tricks,” saying “there was no question of signing or not signing.”
“Someone is playing games to shift the blame on the other side,” he said.
The meetings in Brussels took place on the sidelines of an EU summit.
This post is also available in: Italiano