Without recognition, EU proposal is unacceptable for opposition

Opposition parties in Kosovo support the dialogue with Serbia but they say that they don’t agree with the EU proposal for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia if the proposal does not result in mutual recognition. 

Political commentator, Agon Maliqi, said the statements of the government and the opposition parties are tactical and aimed at strengthening Kosovo’s position in the negotiations, but that they are also made for domestic politics.

The EU proposal was presented to Kosovo and Serbia in late summer of last year, but its content has not been made public. The proposal, which Radio Free Europe claims to have seen, foresees equal rights for Kosovo and Serbia, respect for territorial integrity, the inviolability of borders, recognition of state symbols, and special arrangements for the Serb community in Kosovo. The document does not mention mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia or Kosovo’s membership in the United Nations – something that Kosovo officials have insisted on – but it does note the support that the sides must give to each other in the process of European integration.

The EU proposal, which was earlier known as the French-German plan, is supported by the United States of America.

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) welcomed the EU proposal, but only as a basis for talks on a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, PDK MP Rashit Qalaj said. He said that the PDK position is that the proposal must include five necessary elements: preserving the unitary character of Kosovo, recognition from the five non-recognizing EU member states, integration in NATO structures or the Partnership for Peace, getting the candidate status for EU membership, and mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia.

“I think that the proposal is not the agreement that Kosovo has waited for a long time. An agreement that does not include mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia is an agreement that doesn’t bring stability in the Balkans and only postpones the resolution of the problem between Kosovo and Serbia,” Qalaj said.

He further argued that the EU proposal must be negotiated. “We know that the proposal is not final, but it is a good basis for talks, but our position is that the agreement must include the five elements that I mentioned,” he said.

Deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Lutfi Haziri told the news website that this party believes that an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is necessary, it should be reached as soon as possible, and that it must result in mutual recognition. He argued that if the dialogue does not conclude with Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo, “it will have no meaning”. “No agreement that does not conclude with recognition, will be sufficient and will not be supported by the LDK. This is the position that we have reconfirmed, although we support the dialogue and we support the government,” he said.

Haziri also said they will express their position during the discussions that the U.S. Embassy in Pristina will hold with political parties and civil society on January 31. “No one ever expected that the basic documents would include in writing and explicitly the independence of Kosovo because Serbia will continue to reject any sort of recognition of Kosovo and will try to find a backdoor to avoid this and to buy time by not recognizing Kosovo. But we need to convince and argue before the international mediators, the international community, primarily to [EU High Representative] Borrell and the U.S. Government, that recognition is the solution to problems, and that with non-recognition Kosovo will remain an open problem,” he said.

Autor: RFE