It’s official: The EU turns back on Kurti; urges urgent removal of the tariff News

The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, sent a letter to Prime Minister Kurti. The letter will though not please him.

Borrell turned back on the Kurti Government, by demanding urgent removal of the tariff on goods imported from Serbia – in order to finally open the dialogue, Periskopi writes.

Kurti had hoped that the European Union will support his decision, for phasing out the tariff drop, which was initially upheld.

In his letter, Borrell urges Kurti to lead talks with Serbia.

Borell’s letter:

Thank you for your letter dated March 3, 2020.

I am pleased that you have put the relationship with the EU as your main priority, as this is in line with the EU’s priority approach to the whole region, including Kosovo. Similarly, I welcome your intention to pursue the reforms necessary for pushing forward the rule of law, economic development and good governance in Kosovo; these are key elements for your future.

Your personal commitment to achieving full normalization of relations with Serbia is an important part of your European path. Your determination is cordially welcomed by the European Union and its member states. I believe that, as Prime Minister, you will lead the negotiations in a comprehensive dialogue. The normalization of relations with Serbia should be a unifying project of domestic politics, as it will gain widespread political support from all political leadership.

As you know, the European Union and its member states strongly believe that resuming dialogue talks is necessary and urgent and will require the full lifting of tariffs. As we have repeated, we also expect Serbia to do its part in order to restart the process.

I welcomed your announcement last week about the tariffs, as it’s a good first step in the right direction. We need complete abolition of tariffs. In this context, I fully agree with you that past agreements and outstanding obligations must be fully implemented. Serbia, like Kosovo, must fulfill its commitments and to implement those agreements.

In your letter you have mentioned monitoring and sanctioning mechanisms: Since the beginning of the dialogue the European Union has put in place concrete and comprehensive mechanisms, for ensuring that both parties adhere to their commitments in existing and future agreements.

In the past, member state ministers have been regularly briefed in the Council by the High Representative /Vice President, and I plan to continue this practice. Member States are also regularly informed on the compliance of both parties to the dialogue commitments respectively, as part of the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in Kosovo, in the Special Group on normalization of relations with Serbia, and as part of the process of Serbia’s membership, under chapter 35.

Following our recent telephone conversation, I would like to confirm that I have already formally proposed to the Member States the appointment of Miroslav Lajcak, as the EU Special Representative for Dialogue and the Western Balkans, in order to assist me as an EU facilitator. I hope he can start work early. For my part, I pledge to remain closely involved in this process and to do my best for moving forward, quickly and effectively. In the end, Kosovo and Serbia, the wider region and the EU itself, will benefit from a positive outcome.

Meanwhile, I look forward to meeting you in Brussels in the near future, to continue our discussions and to assist the European Union’s External Action (EEAS) in preparing you for the resumption of dialogue.

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