David McAllister, the European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur for Serbia told Radio Free Europe (RFE) in an interview his delegation called on Pristina authorities to revoke the decision on the 100 percent import taxes on goods from Serbia to enable the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue to resume, the Beta news agency reported on Wednesday.
He said the European Union took note of a debate on the exchange of territories between Kosovo and Serbia but hadn’t been actively involved in the issue.
McAllister added he didn’t believe the EU May elections would have an impact on the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue.
He said he was familiar with the anti-government protests in Serbia, adding it was the opposition democratic right to demonstrate, but pointed out the parliament was the place for the authorities and the opposition debate.
Referring to the Brussels dialogue, McAllister said it was a crucial issue.
“EU has been organising this dialogue for years to make the sides sit down and finally reach a legally binding agreement acceptable to both sides,” he said, adding the EU was offering Belgrade and Pristina a chance to exercise their rights to cement the road to their European integrations.
According to his words, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaci lifted the dialogue at a new level, but that both sides had a lot of obligations to meet.
“I believe we should use this moment and continue (the dialogue), but right now we are not going anywhere due to Kosovo’s decision (on taxes) despite the advice from their European and the US partners,” McAllister told RFE.
He added the EU “at the moment does not have Pristina’s answer it hopes for.”
“The US, the EU member states, we all have a clear position that the taxes were introduced in violation of the (Central European Free Trade Agreement) CEFTA and that they contradict the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Kosovo,” he added.
Referring to the issue of border changes between Kosovo and Serbia as a part of their final agreement, McAllister said that “debate about a possible exchange of territories is about border demarcation.”
“We as the European Parliament has adopted the position, and we have identical formulation in my Serbia report and Kosovo report of my colleague Soltes that we take note of this debate, that any agreement would have to be mutually agreed, it would have to contribute to regional stability, and it would have to be according to international law.
So, at the moment, this is a debate where the EU is not actively engaged, but we are taking note of the discussion.”
To see the part of the interview, click here:https://bit.ly/2H6X41I