Kosovo and Serbia’s leaders have agreed to resume the dialogue facilitated by the EU with the aim of normalizing relations, by means of a comprehensive, final and legally binding agreement.
This is outcome of the Friday’s virtual summit hosted by President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the participation of Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell, and EU special envoy Miroslav Lajčák.
In a joint statement, France and Germany announced that Vučić and Hoti agreed to deepen their cooperation in the framework of the Berlin process, in order to build confidence between the two countries.
“The normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is essential for the security and stability of the region and is of great importance in view of the accession of the two countries to the EU,” the joint statement noted.
It did not mention “mutual recognition” as a condition for the two countries’ EU integration. The normalization of relations was only deemed as “of great importance” for the European future of Kosovo and Serbia.
Contrary to this, after his meeting with Macron this week in Paris, Hoti announced that “France remains committed to support Kosovo in the dialogue process with Serbia, which should lead to mutual recognition and the normalization of relations.”
Kosovo and Serbia understand different things by “normalization of relations”; for Kosovo it includes “mutual recognition”, but for Serbia it means recognition of current circumstances, and it excludes recognition of Kosovo.
Negotiations will begin on July 12 through a videoconference, to be followed by a first meeting in Brussels on July 16, facilitated by Borrell and Lajcak.
Macron and Merkel encouraged Vučić and Hoti to achieve substantial progress in the negotiations in the coming months.