By Gordana Andric
Ivica Dacic, Serbia’s Prime Minister, will travel to Brussels on September 4 to meet the EU’s High Representative, Catherine Ashton, to discuss resuming Kosovo-Serbia talks, Balkan Insight has learned.
Ashton met Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, in late July, when she stated that the dialogue would resume once a new government in Serbia was in place.
“After the Ashton-Dacic meeting we will know more about who Serbia’s representatives in the dialogue will be and what topics will be discussed,” a diplomatic source in Brussels said.
“As she already talked with Thaci, we expect the dialogue to reopen soon after the meeting with the Serbian Prime Minister,” the source added.
Aleksandar Vulin, director of the Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo, has already announced one change, which is that Kosovo Serbs will in future be directly represented in the Serbian negotiating team.
“No matter on what level the dialogue is led, the Serbs [from Kosovo] will have their representative on the negotiating team and their requirements and wishes will be respected,” Vulin said on Wednesday.
The EU launched the dialogue in March 2011 with the aim of normalising tense relations between Serbia and its former province, whose independence, declared in 2008, it does not recognise.
So far the two sides have reached deals on freedom of movement, mutual recognition of university diplomas and on the representation of Kosovo at regional meetings attended by Serbia.
Talks were put on hold following the May general elections in Serbia, which resulted in the Democrats, led by Boris Tadic, losing power.
A new government, led by the more nationalistic Progressive Party and the Socialists, has since announced that it intends to upgrade the process to the level of Prime Ministers or Presidents, rather than keeping the talks at the level of envoys, as has been the case so far.
Belgrade has also stated that all arrangements reached by the previous Democrat-led government will be fully implemented.