Germany gives no deadlines for a Belgrade, Prishtina agreement

German Ambassador to Serbia Thomas Schieb says there are no deadlines for Belgrade and Prishtina to reach an agreement on normalization of relations.

“We hope that the dialogue on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Prishtina will be restored as soon as possible and that progress will be made,” Schieb told Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti, commenting on unofficial information that EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has asked for the dialogue to end by early June.

Asked if Berlin would exert more pressure on Prishtina to revoke the taxes on Serbian goods it has increased by 100 percent, Schieb said they were “in contact” and that his country has “repeatedly presented a clear stance, including the foreign minister, who opposed this measure and called for Pristina authorities to withdraw the decision.”

Schieb also said that Berlin’s position is that Belgrade and Prishtina are in a dialogue mediated by the EU, “and that the format should remain as such.”

Stating that “it is true that the issue of Kosovo must be resolved before Serbia joins the EU and that this is one of the most important conditions to be met for membership” – Schieb pointed out that Belgrade and Pristina should come to an agreement on normalization and that it was “up to them what that agreement will look like.”

“We are not asking that you do not cooperate with Russia in order to become a member of the EU,” the ambassador said, when asked if Germany was in any way bothered by the close relationship between Serbia and Russia, and whether Serbia would be under increasing pressure to “loosen” those ties.

Schieb said that both Germany and the EU are cooperating with Russia.

“Obviously, Russia is not an ‘easy’ partner at the moment, but of course dialogue and cooperation are important,” German ambassador added.