The first meeting between the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia is planned for June. It will mark the resuming of the dialogue on normalization of relations between two countries after a long hiatus.
Josep Borrell, the top EU diplomat, confirmed this during a joint press conference with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Thursday in Brussels, where he also stressed that Kosovo’s European path goes through the dialogue.
“There is no other way, there is no alternative to it. Reaching a comprehensive, legally binding agreement on normalization of relations with Serbia, is essential to move towards European perspective,” Borrell stated.
“Without it, the road is blocked. Which is why we have been encouraging the new Prime Minister to engage proactively,” he added.
He said that the work done with the previous Kosovo government cannot be thrown out of the window, so Kurti will have to be familiar with it in order to continue the process, which “has a significant delay”, and produce the necessary result.
Acknowledging the difficulties of the dialogue, Borrell added that “we need this process to resume soon and we aim to have the first high level meeting before the end of June.”
On his part, Kurti assured Borrell that his government is not going to neglect the dialogue with Serbia.
“I will be coming in mid-May in Brussels for the dinner that you will be hosting with the Western Balkans leaders and I look forward to have meetings regarding next chapter of dialogue which I believe should be principled in order to bring sustainable and implementable agreement,” Kurti said.
When asked why he refused to meet with Vucic on May 11 but agreed for June, Kurti replied that they needed more to prepare.
“We need more information and document regarding previous agreements and process in general in order to prepare ourselves. We just want principled dialogue and well prepared. I don’t think that we can afford new mistakes and failures,” Kurti said.
He also added that he plans to meet with the opposition and get their input.
Kurti reiterated that Kosovo’s top priorities are new jobs, justice, and securing vaccines. He made sure to stress that Russian and Chinese vaccines won’t be among Kosovo’s choices.
“Remittances from our diaspora amount to half of annual state budget of Kosovo. So we are very much dependent on them and easing the situation with pandemic is crucial for both, our public health but also economy,” he added.
Replying to journalists’ interest, Borrell denied he has ever been presented any document suggesting border changes in the Western Balkans.
“It seems to be a la mode, if you don’t have a non-paper, you are no one,” Borrell answered ironically.
Kurti added that he does not believe in solutions where they see regions only in terms of geography and demography, without considering the people, socio-economics, and security.