By Bojana Barlovac
Serbia’s President and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are expected to resume dialogue on Kosovo this after last week’s public spat on Serbia’s role in its former province.
Serbia’s President is expected to hold new talks with Germany’s leader following last week’s dispute on Belgrade’s role in Kosovo.
Serbia remains keen to join the EU, which is why President Boris Tadic wishes to maintain dialogue with the leader of the most powerful country in the EU, Chancellor Angela Merkel, a source close to the President said.
Tadic’s “dispute” with Merkel arose on Thursday, when she told Serbia to abandon its institutions in mainly Serb northern Kosovo and Tadic refused to make any such commitment.
On a visit to Belgrade on Wednesday, Merkel outlined that of one of the requirements for Serbia to make progress on its EU path was to abandon its so-called “parallel institutions” in the north of Kosovo. These include post offices, educational establishments and parallel municipalities.
The demand was intended to make it clear to Serbia that the EU will not accept any new member state that has an outstanding dispute with any of its neighbours. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has since been recognised by 22 of the 27 EU member states.
The German demand was a jolt to the Serbian government, led by Tadic’s Democratic Party, which has been counting on obtaining EU candidate status by the end of the year.
The likelihood of getting EU candidacy is also the main ace on in the hands of Tadic’s Democrats ahead of forthcoming elections supposed to be held in spring 2012.
Tensions in the north of Kosovo peaked last month after a botched police raid on customs crossing points in the north led by police loyal to the Kosovo government.
The raid followed a decision by the Kosovo government to enforce a ban on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kosovo special police then took over two checkpoints to enforce the order, prompting violent disturbances, after which they had to withdraw.