Serbia will not allow recognition of Kosovan independence to become a condition of its EU membership and believes the Pristina authorities are acting unilaterally in liaison with the US, according to the country’s ambassador to Berlin.
In an exclusive interview with EurActiv Germany, Ivo Visković acknowledged that Serbia might recognise Kosovo in due course, however, after the resolution of many issues relating to the rights of its Serbian minority population.
Visković said that the recent unrest on the Serbian-Kosovan border was ‘revenge’ taken by Pristina in an attempt to force Serbia to recognise a customs stamp that reads: “Republic of Kosovo – Customs Office”.
Serbia refused to do this since allowing passage of goods under such a label would amount to acknowledgement of Kosovan statehood, the ambassador added.
He blamed the US ambassador in Pristina for initiating Pristina’s actions, saying: “Many other countries and many of my colleagues, whose names I am naturally loath to mention, are fully aware of the fact that he is in charge of many things. What he says is practically a “must-do” for the Kosovan authorities in Pristina, with or without consultation with other Western countries.”
Attempts to make Serbia recognise Kosovan statehood as a condition of its entry into the EU would backfire, Visković said, since: “If we are faced with the dilemma of choosing between Kosovo and the EU at this moment, our choice cannot be the EU.”
He said that Serbia could recognise Kosovo over time, however, adding: “Prior to making this possible, we have to solve many problems. And then, one day in the not-too-distant future, someone in Serbia might say: ‘We can do it now.’”
Serbia and Kosovo similar to East and West Germany
The Serbs have taken constructive positions in the negotiations with Kosovo – currently on ice – in relation to problems surrounding telecommunications, electricity and the recognition of university graduates, Visković said.
In a comparison he repeated several times, he said: “Serbia has “red lines” just as Germany had at the time two Germanies existed. You had provisions in your constitution just as we have. And no one in Serbia can go against these provisions.”
The ambassador said that Serbian President Boris Tadić was “fully aware” that there were attempts underway to make Serbian recognition of Kosovo a condition for its entry into the EU. He added: “That is why he [Tadić] estimates the consequences of each move and – trust me – he is a politician who has an instinct for politics, internal and international, and is able to see what benefits and what hurts our interests.”