EU reprimands Kosovo, Serbia, urging them to defuse tensions

EU reprimands Kosovo, Serbia, urging them to defuse tensions

Bloc expects both sides to demonstrate 'European behavior' if they want to join the EU, says foreign affairs spokesman

By Agnes Szucs

BRUSSELS (AA) - The EU reprimanded both Kosovo and Serbia on Thursday, urging them to defuse tensions and demonstrate "European behavior."

Speaking at the European Commission’s news briefing, Peter Stano, lead spokesperson for foreign affairs, confirmed that EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell has received a joint letter from the US and European parliamentarians demanding change in the EU’s policy on Kosovo and Serbia.

Stano explained that the EU, as an institution, is the facilitator of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and the 27 EU member states have to take a unanimous decision to change the course of the bloc’s Serbia-Kosovo policy.

Since June, the EU has applied temporary measures “against the government of Kosovo because of their inability to start behaving in a European way and to take considerable steps for de-escalation,” Stano asserted.

He underlined that the bloc expects both sides to demonstrate “European behavior” if they want to join the EU.

Stano defined it as a "constructive" approach to de-escalation of tensions and seeking "compromises, finding the necessary consensus" to normalize relations.

Earlier this week, a group of lawmakers from the US, UK, and EU countries, including the chairs of foreign policy committees, demanded that the EU exert greater pressure on Serbia in order to normalize relations with Kosovo.

The move came after the bloc introduced temporary measures against Kosovo in June after tensions rose high in Northern Kosovo following April's municipal elections.

High-level officials from Kosovo and Serbia, including top leaders Albin Kurti and Aleksandar Vucic, held several rounds of talks in the framework of the EU-led Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.

Launched in 2011, the mechanism aims to normalize relations between the two Balkan countries and to find a mutually agreeable solution to disputes within the framework of a legally binding agreement.​​​​​​​

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