Serbian President Aleksander Vucic has said that during 2020, his country will be given an ultimatum on the status of Kosovo as an independent country.
In an interview given to Prva television yesterday, he said he believes that the EU will precondition membership by asking for recognition of Kosovo. He added that he will send the matter to referendum, allowing the people to decide.
“It is certain that this year we will have an ultimatum. They will give us guarantees for EU membership if we recognise Kosovo,” Vucic said.
“We will be offered a solution, the Ahtisaari++ Plan. They will also offer us a special status for Kosovo Serbs in some areas, then, what are we going to do? We will ask the people in a referendum what they think.”
Vucic claimed that he put forward this idea three years ago but that citizens rejected it because it would “put a border between Serbs and Albanians”.
In November 2018, former Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj imposed a 100% import tax on Serbian goods, as a response to Serbia’s campaign against Kosovo’s independence. Serbia then withdrew from EU-mediated talks and said they would only return if tariffs were lifted, a condition that was rejected by Haradinaj’s government.
Kosovo’s new Prime Minister Albin Kurti is expected to remove the tax following international pressure, particularly from the US. Special Envoy to the Kosovo-Serbia talks, Richard Grenell has warned that if both parties fail to reach an agreement, the US will withdraw from mediation.
The US Ambassador to Kosovo, Philip Kosnett has also called for the tariff to be lifted and said that Serbia should respond constructively and both parties should stop provocations.
The Kosovo government is due to meet with stakeholders soon to discuss the possible abolition of the tax.