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EU: Serbia cannot become a member without normalizing relations with Kosovo

EU: Serbia cannot become a member without normalizing relations with Kosovo

Serbia cannot become a member of the European Union without normalizing its relations with Kosovo, EU spokesman Peter Stano told Radio Free Europe.

"The Ohrid Agreement currently makes this very clear: If there is no progress on normalization, there will be no progress on membership negotiations," he added.

This statement came after the American ambassador in Belgrade, Christopher Hill, in an interview for the June 13 edition of the weekly NIN from Belgrade, said that the formal recognition of Kosovo will not be a condition for Serbia's entry into the EU.

The European Union, however, has not made it clear whether formal recognition of Kosovo will be a condition for Serbia to join the European Union, and Stano reiterated that "the bloc's position on this issue remains unchanged."

"The position of the EU about this has not changed and remains the same, as it has been said in the past and as stated in the membership criteria", said Stano.

Since Kosovo declared its independence, 15 years ago, the European Union has repeatedly stated that the issue of Kosovo's recognition is a matter within the competence of the EU member states and, as a European bloc, has maintained a neutral position towards the status of Kosovo. .

But, on the other hand, Kosovo has special contractual relations with the European Union, through the Stabilization and Association Agreement, while the territory of Kosovo is not included in the negotiation process of Serbia's membership in the EU.

The EU has always insisted on using the full normalization of relations with Kosovo as a condition for Serbia. The EU has left it to the parties to interpret whether "full normalization" means formal recognition of Kosovo by Serbia.

An EU official, recalling the changes in the framework of Serbia's EU membership negotiations, where chapter 35 includes as a condition the normalization of relations with Kosovo, said that without this normalization, Serbia cannot become a member of the EU.

At the same time, the EU has said that Serbia's lobbying against Kosovo's membership in international organizations constitutes a "clear" violation of the Brussels Agreement for the normalization of relations between the two neighboring countries.

"The agreement on the road to normalization is valid and fully binding for both: Kosovo and Serbia. This also includes Article 4. Serbia's lobbying against Kosovo is a clear violation of this agreement," said EU spokesman Peter Stano for Radio Free Europe.

Under the mediation of the EU, Kosovo and Serbia in 2023 reached the Agreement towards the normalization of relations. It later became known as the Ohrid Agreement, but this too has remained largely unimplemented.

Serbia lobbied against Kosovo's membership in the Council of Europe in May, which ultimately decided not to put Pristina's request for membership on the agenda at all, despite the fact that it passed two of the three necessary stages./rel

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