The document, prepared by the cabinet of EU High Representative Josep Borrell and inspected by Radio Free Europe (RFE), said “disagreements among Western Balkan partners are hampering regional integration”.
The strengthening of political engagement in the region is announced, and in connection with that, frequent posts of foreign ministers from EU countries are mentioned, informing the countries of the region about discussions held at the EU level, as well as Borel’s meetings with regional leaders.
At the meeting of the EU Council for Foreign Affairs, a discussion on the situation in the Western Balkans was announced, with a special focus on BiH and the relations between Serbia and Kosovo, but, as RFE states, conclusions on the region will not be adopted.
As for the relations between Serbia and Kosovo, the document prepared for the meeting states that the atmosphere around the dialogue on the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo “remains challenging” and that “no further progress has been made in the last few months.”
Recent tensions over license plates for vehicles entering Kosovo from Serbia, and a solution found, are proof that dialogue can yield results if backed by clear signals from senior EU officials and in close co-operation with the US.
The focus, he added, should now be on returning to the implementation of outstanding obligations from the dialogue, improving the atmosphere with concrete positive actions and working on a future-oriented agenda, ie a comprehensive agreement on normalization, and thus the European future of Kosovo and Serbia.
The document also states that continuous support and high-level engagement of member states is needed in relation to Belgrade and Pristina, in order to support the efforts of High Representative Josep Borel and EU Special Representative for Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Mirolsav Lajcak.
“The parties should be encouraged to engage constructively and achieve positive results, including regional agreements on the common regional market, and to refrain from unilateral actions and divisive rhetoric, especially regarding northern Kosovo,” the document said.
Borel’s cabinet acknowledges that visa liberalization is a special process for Kosovo, but the document mentions that “advancing discussions in the EU Council on visa liberalization for Kosovo would also contribute to improving EU credibility” and could provide further impetus to Kosovo’s progress at the European level. way.
A document drafted by Borel’s cabinet estimates that the political situation in BiH has deteriorated sharply since the summer.
“Unacceptable, inflammatory rhetoric that calls into question the country’s territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty has contributed to rising tensions on the ground,” the document said, adding that state institutions are now “effectively blocked”.
The document states that “everything should be done to preserve the stability of BiH.”
“First of all, it is urgent to create an appropriate space for a solution based on dialogue in order for BiH to progress on its European path,” the document reads, adding that it is necessary to continue joint efforts at EU and US levels, as close coordination is very important.
The recent extension of the UN Security Council’s mandate for Operation EUFOR Altea is seen as a positive step towards maintaining security and stability.