European Parliament Committee for Cooperation with Serbia Chairman Eduard Kukan believes that inclusion of Russia and the US in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue would end it.
The EU and its foreign policy chief had to show much more firmness and determination in the enlargement process and, above all, in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina; the lack of leadership was particularly striking in the absence of a response to Pristina’s unacceptable tariffs (on goods from central Serbia) Kukan told Belgrade-based Vecernje Novosti daily.
When the interviewer remarked the impression was that not enough had been done during Kukan’s mandate, either, when it comes to the Western Balkans moving closer to the EU, he replied that “an optimist would say there has been genuine progress in the enlargement process, while a pessimist would conclude that much more needed to be done.”
“The truth is somewhere in the middle. The fact is that the enlargement process is becoming more and more difficult. Not only because of the Western Balkan countries, but also because of the situation in the EU itself. There is no longer that much enthusiasm, but this process cannot be stopped. Most states and MEPs are convinced that, if we want the EU to be whole, we cannot ignore the entire region of the Western Balkans,” he stressed.
Asked if he believed that Serbia really can become a full member of the EU by 2025, Kukan said: “It’s not that unfeasible. But some things must be resolved. For example, the dialogue with Pristina. Without that, it is impossible for Serbia to further progress in the process of enlargement. And the dialogue is currently frozen.”
Kukan also recalled that the mandate of the European Commission will end in November, which means that there is still time for the dialogue to resume. “The High Representative’s (Mogherini) responsibility still exists. She should make some moves, continue in her role, be active and engaged, and at this moment I don’t see her leadership at all. And it is very necessary,” he added.
Nevertheless, Kukan believes that the possible involvement of the US and Russia in the dialogue would end the process. “I don’t think this is a good idea. It would terribly complicate the situation. The authorities in Pristina are asking for Washington to join, it’s logical for the Serbs to invite the Russians. It wouldn’t help dialogue if they joined, now, after so much time – on the contrary, it would be unhelpful.”