Serbia should not accept starting the dialogue all over

BELGRADE, June 8 (Tanjug) - CEAS Director Jelena Milić believes that Serbia should not accept starting the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina all over, if such an idea really exists.

This is her view of the assessments made by some European analysts that EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák, intends to move in the direction of the original principles on which the dialogue on normalization of relations has been based since 2012, in drafting the continuation of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. In her opinion, that would mean that Kosovo is rewarded for not fulfilling the obligations stemming from the Brussels Agreement, in which one of the most important elements is the establishment of the Community of Serbian Municipalities, as well as for disparaging the European Union itself as a credible partner. Milić reminds that Lajčák contributed considerably to the referendum in Montenegro, stating that although she is not against Montenegro’s independence that she fully respects, the referendum as an instrument should be reconsidered, the manner in which it was applied in the Balkans and whether it produced functional or non-functional states. "The Dayton Agreement is something that had to be made out of necessity; however it produced a very dysfunctional Bosnia. We can also see that Ahtisaari's plan is dysfunctional. We have all become hostages of ambiguities and political decisions, inconsistent laws and legal loopholes in Kosovo," says Milić. Milić notes, that considering that perspective, Lajčák should understand that a solution sought needs to be functional and applicable. "The EU, as the chief mediator, has lost a sort of credibility. That is why I’m especially surprised by this new round of EU official’s statements, which de facto shape Lajčák's position, that the only solution is for parties to return to the dialogue as soon as possible, and for Belgrade to eventually recognize Kosovo. As a result, in spite of the fact that one side did not respect the Brussels agreement, both sides would get an unspecific prospect of EU membership", added Milić. She reminds that a new Enlargement Strategy has been adopted, in which the member states are given much more say in the final decision-making than before, and that is just a sign that whatever Europe or the European institutions offer might not necessarily happen as the outcome.” The EU should offer something more concrete," Milić believes. Asked how she sees the role of the United States in the dialogue process and in reaching a final solution, and whether an initiative from the White House can be expected, she said that she doesn’t know specifically what the American offer has that differs from the European one, but that there appears to be a difference.

This, she notes, can be heard through the rhetoric and comments of the pundits close to the government - that the American approach seems more viable. "Obviously, something more concrete does exist. If I was forced to choose between the two plans - one from the EU and the other coming from the United States - I would accept the American proposal without a second thought," says Milić. She also points out that only NATO, in which the United States has a lot of sway, can provide a security framework for the agreement. Milić also estimates that the American proposal cannot differ much from the European one, stating that President Aleksandar Vučić himself said that every decision would be painful and that there would be no "happy solution". She emphasizes that she understands Vučić when he says that he is tired of giving proposals for the solution of the Kosovo problem. When asked where the solution can come from, she answered that it is difficult to say, but she hopes that it can come from the parties in the dialogue themselves. However, she notes that all leaders in the Western Balkans who oppose the correction of the administrative line should understand that it would be a "win-win" situation for everyone if Serbia and America would establish some kind of agreement. According to her, in the recent years, Serbia has presented its arguments very well, behaved in a much more principled and responsible manner, and established better political and security cooperation with both NATO and the United States. "The maximum has been achieved with this administration, in this election cycle. The next administration could be Trump's, but it might not," Milić reminds. She adds that Joe Biden currently stands better than Trump and Hillary Clinton in relation to the same period during the last election cycle, and if he wins there will be a new pro democratic Congress, which would bring about a new set of circumstances and priorities. However, she says, it can be assumed that he will have a different position from Donald Trump, more in line with his European partners. "After a short period of EU‘s "sulking" and with a stronger cooperation with the US, there is a space for Serbia's decision, but its shrinking. If Serbia wants to try and remain on the European path I believe that space should be used," Milić concluded.

Tags: Kosovo