Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in Belgrade on Monday that the success of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is crucial to Serbia’s accession to the European Union.
Speaking at a joint new conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Kurz said that Austria, which holds the rotating EU chair, is doing everything it can to bring the countries of the Western Balkans closer to the Union and added that the goal is to see more chapters opened by the end of the year in Serbia’s pre-accession negotiations.
“As EU chair, we are doing everything to bring the countries of the Western Balkans, especially Serbia, closer to the EU. Our common wish is for more chapters to be opened this year. The crucial thing is not only to continue the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue but also to see it come to a successful end… This is a unique opportunity for history to remain history and for us to move into a successful future together,” Kurtz said.
The Austrian chancellor said that people in Serbia must understand that accession to the EU can happen only if the issues between Belgrade and Pristina are resolved.
“Kosovo is the main condition for EU accession, the crucial thing is for the dialogue to be completed successfully and I am calling the population to support all politicians who want to go down that road… Peaceful life together is important for us along with peace and stability in the region, not wars and destruction… I hope that will be possible because, as a friend of the region, I am convinced that this region deserves to be part of the EU,” he said.
President Vucic said that he would go to Paris for the Armistice Day summit, despite public opposition because he believes Serbia must not isolate itself internationally.
President Vucic said he asked the Austrian chancellor to help Serbia on its European path and added that both of them understand that peace and stability are the most important things for progress.
We discussed Belgrade-Pristina relations which is a difficult topic for us, he said and added that he thanked Kurtz for supporting any solution the Serbs and Albanians might reach. “We believe that the efforst to find a compromise solution is of vital importance to Serbia but few people in Serbia support that at this moment,” Vucic said.
“Serbia must not be humiliated with the Albanian side getting everything and the Serbian side getting nothing,” Vucic said.
He warned that the Serbs and Albanians are miles from any kind of solution but added that he expects the dialogue to continue. Vucic said he understood Kurtz’ message that a solution to the Kosovo issue is crucial to the EU. The citizens of Serbia have to know what the condition is, he said. If we manage to reach a compromise it would guarantee peace in the next 100 years, the president said.