(EurActiv) — The Serbian press has speculated that one of the conditions that Greece must fulfill to receive financial assistance from the West includes recognizing Kosovo, a former Serbian province which Belgrade refuses to recognize as an independent state.
The Serbian daily Blic says that there ware obvious signs that Greece’s vulnerable financial situation means that “Kosovo is a lost battle for Serbia.”
Most EU countries, except Greece, Spain, Romania, Cyprus and Slovakia, have recognized the independence of Kosovo, who seceded from Serbia in 2008 (see background).
“It would take a miracle for Greece not to recognize Kosovo in the next few months, a year at the most. A serious undertaking will have to be done by the Serbian diplomacy for Athens to give up on recognizing Kosovo, or at least to prolong it,” the paper quoted an unnamed source.
The newspaper said that conditions that Athens will have to fulfill to get the sorely needed money are not just economic, but also political.
Political analyst Dušan Janjić is quoted as saying that Kosovo’s recognition by Athens “will arrive as early as in the fall”. He added:”Tsipras will play pragmatically. He will recognize Kosovo in order to delay the issue of Macedonia’s name. Due to the bad situation, he won’t be able to conduct his own policy. He will have to make concessions, and in this case it will be recognizing Kosovo.”
The European External Action Service would like Greece to recognise Kosovo and to solve the so-called ‘name dispute” with Macedonia, which prevents this country from advancing toward EU accession.
Serbia takes the same position as the EU on Macedonia, but not on the Kosovo issue.
Macedonia declared independence from the dissolving Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991.
Seen from Athens, the official name used by Skopje – the Republic of Macedonia – is an open challenge to the Greek region of Macedonia. In retaliation, Greece vowed to veto Macedonia’s participation in international organisations, including the EU, until the issue is resolved.
Although Macedonia is recognised as the country’s constitutional name by most EU countries, the name dispute with Greece has led to an impasse for the country’s membership of both the EU and Nato.
The UK, Poland, Romania and 13 other EU countries call the country Macedonia, while France, Germany, Spain and 9 other EU members call it the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” or FYROM.
Asked to comment on the press speculation, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić said that there were no signs that Greece would change its position regarding Kosovo, and that high-level visits between Belgrade and Athens would take place soon.
“As the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I should pay an official visit to Greece in October. Tsipras should have visited us earlier but due to the problems in his country, he announced that he would come later,” Dačić said.