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EU: Agreement with Kosovo crucial for Serbia's EU path

Serbia, Kosovo relations crucial for region, says EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi

Talha Ozturk   | 06.02.2020
EU: Agreement with Kosovo crucial for Serbia's EU path European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi (L) and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic (R) hold a joint press conference in Belgrade, Serbia on February 6, 2020. ( Milos Miskov - Anadolu Agency )

BELGRADE, Serbia

The EU Commissioner on Thursday stressed that Serbia cannot move forward towards its EU integration without agreeing with Pristina.

Whatever Serbia does for European integration, it cannot move forward towards the EU without agreeing with Pristina, said Oliver Varhelyi, the commissioner for European neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, in a joint press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

"For the whole region, the relationship between Serbia and Kosovo is crucial. We are all looking at both countries so that they can come to a long-term peaceful solution, but that cannot happen by itself," said Varhelyi, adding that a deal is needed.

According to Varhelyi, first of all, the two countries must sit together for a dialogue.

"In that sense, the first step to this is in Kosovo, which is to abolish the fees they have introduced, because without that it will be difficult to restart the dialogue," Varhelyi added.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade insists the country is one of its provinces.

Kosovo's independence has been recognized by more than 100 countries, including the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Turkey. Those who have not yet recognized its independence include Serbia, Russia, and China.

The Serbian government has been holding political talks with countries to make them withdraw recognition for Kosovo's independence.

As a result of Serbia's campaign, Kosovo in 2018 failed to become a member of the International Police Service (Interpol).

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