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Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia: Why Russia would create an obstacle to Serbia on the road to the EU (Danas)

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My first reaction to the statements of Aleksandar Vucic and Vladimir Putin that Russia has the power in UN to prevent the joining of Kosovo is – nobody ever doubted it. It’s a fact.

An interesting question is, why Russia would do it and thus created a serious obstacle to Serbia’s EU membership, told Danas daily Arne Sannes Bjornstad, the Norwegian ambassador to Serbia, as a response to the question how he comments the messages from the meeting Vucic- Putin – that without Russia’s consent there is no Kosovo in the UN, while the EU and the United States at the same time expect Serbia to normalize relations in the near future and to agree to the Kosovo’s admission to the UN.

“Normalization of relations” with all neighbours is a prerequisite for EU membership, points the Danas interlocutor and asks whether “normalization” with Kosovo is possible if Serbia continues to work on preventing Kosovo’s membership in the UN?

– The EU must answer that question. The second question is what would make Kosovo want to negotiate a legally binding “normalization” agreement. Even without EU membership, the normalization of relations with Kosovo is in Serbia’s interest, including the potential for trade and investment that would open up. I do not think that point is placed on the subject. Serbia and Kosovo are the ones who will decide what kind of normalization they want and what they want to sign as their legal obligations – notes the Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia for Danas daily.

Asked how he assesses Vucic’s presence at a military parade in Moscow, bearing in mind that apart from the Israeli prime minister, the Serbian president was the only senior official of that rank and what does this say about the attitude towards European integration, Arne Sannes Bjornstad says: “The invitation to Vucic is a great honour.”

– As for Vucic’s intentions regarding EU membership, I would not “load” too much in this trip to Moscow. I have no doubt that Vucic is completely honest in his desire to introduce Serbia into the EU while maintaining good relations with Russia. Vucic wants Serbia to be a strong European state with a living standard at the EU level. Therefore, there is no realistic alternative to EU membership. Just look at trade or investment data, or living standards, or where Serbs move to live better. Serbia is at the heart of Europe and its future is in European integration – the ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Belgrade concludes.

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