Serbia risks losing its chance to join the European Union and could see foreign investors leave if it decides to turn down an EU plan which proposes that it normalize ties with Kosovo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Monday.
In his address to the nation in the capital Belgrade, Vucic said the EU plan for Kosovo, presented to him by Western representatives, has in fact become a new negotiating framework for Serbia in the European integration process.
His remarks came after a session of the government in which he informed its members about the situation, challenges and difficulties facing Serbia regarding the Kosovo issue.
According to Vucic, the EU, US, France, Germany and Italy told him that Serbia will not be able to progress with its membership in the bloc and investments will be withdrawn if it does not cooperate on the issue of Kosovo.
"All EU member states accepted that plan, including five countries that did not recognize Kosovo, because they explained to them that there was no explicit recognition of Kosovo's independence, although they concealed the fact that there is an implicit obligation that Serbia does not oppose Kosovo's entry into the UN...Everyone accepted that, and the plan actually, not formally, became a new negotiating framework for Serbia," he said.
Vucic said Serbia must seek a compromise because it cannot prevent Kosovo's entry into NATO and the Council of Europe.
He added that the conflict in Ukraine is a big problem for Serbia and the West's agenda is the defeat of Russia, and everything that stands in the way of that agenda will be cleared.
"Serbia must participate in the dialogue, must continue the European path, not because I admire their hypocrisy, but because economically we must survive and progress, we must not become isolated," said Vucic.
Kosovo-Serbia dialogue process
The EU requires Kosovo and Serbia to reach a final agreement that can resolve issues between the two countries for progress in the integration process.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member states including the US, the UK, France, Germany and Türkiye recognizing it as a separate autonomous country from its neighbor. But Belgrade continues to regard it as its territory.
Lately, the parties have been negotiating what is popularly known as the Franco-German proposal supported by the US and all members of the EU.
Vucic said in October that Germany and France offered to expedite Serbia’s EU membership process if it recognized Kosovo’s independence and allow it to become a member of international organizations.
According to the proposal, which was leaked to the media, Kosovo should allow the establishment of the Union of Serbian Municipalities in the north, where Serbs mostly live.
EU officials hope talks on the plan will be completed in the spring.
Brussels has facilitated the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue.
Source: Anadolu Agency