Savkovic: Little room for maneuver for Serbia to avoid an agreement; Recognition is not realistic

Foto: Medija Centar

The process led by the EU Special Envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak – as a continuation of negotiations between the two sides which was suspended in November 2018 – represents a change for the better. At least the topics are known and dynamics have been established, the program director of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Marko Savkovic said in a statement for KoSSev.

According to Savkovic, Thursday’s meeting is a sign that the process has formally and principally returned under the auspices of the European Union.

„I would say that it has changed for the better, because at least we learned what the topics are, that is, what is being discussed. The dynamics has also been determined; the technical-expert teams will work for two weeks until the next Vucic-Hoti meeting. In some way, it is all positive,“ he shared his first impressions after the meeting.

For weeks, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has been warning that Serbia will face an increased pressure this fall. Furthermore, after a meeting with the Pristina delegation on Sunday, he also announced that European partners have „great expectations“ from Serbia. The majority of the public interpreted such statements as pressure on Serbia to recognize Kosovo. Savkovic argued that fall and everything that comes with it – the economic effects of the pandemic and further political instability – will bring the EU closer to „the moment when it will be able to exert final pressure.“

„Some EU member states have still not recognized Kosovo. It is still unclear what will happen with the seat in the UN, who will communicate with Russia and China, what Serbia will receive in return,“ he said.

Savkovic believes that in the context of Serbia’s possible difficult position caused by the consequences of the pandemic and unresolved questions about numerous actors who did not recognize Kosovo, Serbia will have to accept the agreement, but not the one with which it would explicitly recognize Kosovo.

„After the American initiative was ‘halted’, I expect that the process under the auspices of the EU will still result in an agreement – there is little room for maneuver for Serbia to avoid that. However, if there is explicit recognition, or if Kosovo is asked for further concessions without a clear step forward on the Euro-Atlantic path, it is difficult for me to imagine that an agreement will be reached,“ Savkovic explained.

Explicit recognition is a bridge too far for Belgrade – he concluded.

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On the other hand, a research fellow at the Kosovo Center for Security Studies, Dan Ilazi believes that the process lacks focus on the “most difficult issue” – the recognition of Kosovo by Serbia: Ilazi: Brussels meeting was symbolic, more important for the EU than for Kosovo or Serbia

According to the program director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Ivan Djuric, the fact that the dialogue has been renewed with the topic of the missing is encouraging. Djuric added that courageous moves and political will would be necessary for the implementation of a possible agreement: Djuric: Resolving the missing persons issue means revealing hitherto unknown crimes – a courageous move that can only be drawn by political leaders

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