Serbia-Kosovo talks fail to reach accord in Brussels

By bne IntelliNews April 3, 2013

bne -

In a blow to growing hopes that Serbia and Kosovo were on the brink of an historic deal, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said that he had not been able to reach agreement with his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci, on normalising ties at the latest round of EU-brokered talks on April 2. That leaves Serbia's hopes of getting a start date for EU accession talks hanging by a thread.

An EU official said the talks in Brussels between Serbia and its erstwhile province Kosovo had attempted to resolve the status of the Serb-dominated area in northern Kosovo. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008. While many countries recognise it as an independent country, Serbia still does not.

"Despite these long meetings, several of which we had today, we presently do not have an agreement. We have some more time to find a solution," Dacic said in Brussels, according to Serbian state broadcaster RTS.

Kosovo PM Thaci told reporters that Pristina had put forward proposals that would have integrated all citizens, including ethnic Serbs, into the life of Kosovo. But he said the proposals were met with "hesitation" on the Serbian side. He said talks with Belgrade could continue as soon as next week, "if Serbia agrees with our principles," according to RTS.

EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton, who chaired the talks, said the gap between the two sides was "very narrow, but deep". She said it was the last formal meeting that she would call between the parties, but she did not rule out that a solution could be found. "A number of proposals were put on the table," Ashton said, noting that the premiers will consult in their capitals and "let me know in the next few days of their decision."

Tension between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and remaining ethnic Serbs has led to violence in recent years, notably along the northern border with Serbia. Most ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo reject the authority of the Kosovo in Pristina, and look to Belgrade to protect their interests.

But Serbia has been told it must normalise relations with Kosovo before it can start talks about joining the EU (though Brussels stops short of insisting that Serbia recognize Kosovo as an independent state).

The European Commission is expected to present in April three reports to the member states for consideration regarding Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia. It is on the basis of the content of these reports that the European Council in June will consider the next steps in moving the enlargement process forward.

The report relating to Serbia will be used by the Council to determine whether enough progress has been made for it to decide on setting a date for opening accession negotiations with Belgrade. The focus will be on the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, a process which, as stated in the December Council conclusions, should gradually result in the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia with the prospect of both being able to fully exercise their rights and fulfill their responsibilities.

Related Articles

Macedonia kept on hold as Balkans edges towards EU goal

Clare Nuttall in Bucharest -   Macedonia’s EU accession progress remains stalled amid the country’s worst political crisis in 14 years, while most countries in the Southeast Europe region have ... more

Austria's Erste rides CEE recovery to swing to profit in Jan-Sep

bne IntelliNews - Erste Group Bank saw the continuing economic recovery across Central and Eastern Europe push its January-September financial results back into net profit of €764.2mn, the ... more

CEE leaders call for Nato troops to help deter Russian aggression

bne IntelliNews -   Central and Eastern European leaders blasted Russian "aggression" on November 4 and called for Nato to boost its presence in the region. The joint statement, issued at an ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or 12 months full access inc. Magazine and Weekly Newspaper for just $119/year.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

Thank you for purchasing a bne IntelliNews subscription. We look forward to serving you as one of our paid subscribers. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you have provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. The confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.