The European Union’s top diplomat expressed concern on Monday over the political situation in Serbia and called for a lowering of tension prior to what he said are important elections.
“We are looking with special concern at political pluralization in Serbia and call to all political actors to reduce tensions and build constructive dialogue between our sides because these elections are especially important for Serbia,” EU High Representative Josep Borell told N1.
Speaking about the opposition decision not to field candidates in the coming parliamentary elections, Borell said that he thinks a boycott is not a viable option. “We think it is not a viable option and we call all political actors to take part in elections and represent the interests of their constituents,” he said.
“I think that especially in these circumstances it is important that the citizens and political actors have full confidence in the integrity of the electoral system… The role of the media, taking into account the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, is more important than ever. What we have to do is call on the Serbian authorities to fully implement the commitments taken at the inter-party dialogue,” Borell said and expressed the hope that the necessary conditions will be in place for the vote.
The EU High Representatives said he did not know whether the Union would send an election monitoring mission to Serbia. “I don’t know if we have been asked to do so. At this moment I cannot answer this question because an election monitoring mission has to be by invitation of the country where the elections are being held,” he added.
He said that the EU is “very much engaged in building democracies in our neighborhood”. “Full democracies will continue to be one of the most important conditions to fulfill to become a member of the EU. We are going to use the leverage of membership in order to bring to a full and prosperous democracy to the Western Balkans,” Borell said.
Speaking about the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue he said that it is “one of the most difficult political issues that we have to face”. Borell said that recent events don’t help the situation because a stalemate is in place in Pristina. “We are waiting for Kosovo to have a new government and now we are again in a difficult situation which can only be solved by the Kosovars themselves,” he said, adding that the EU will try to help get the dialogue restarted once “there are people on both sides who are ready to participate in the dialogue”.
“We have to overcome the legacy of the past not continue sticking to old quarrels,” he said. According to Borell, the dialogue that requires the readiness of both sides and political stability in Kosovo. “We cannot expect the negotiations to start again if there is no government in full capacity in Kosovo,” he added.
“It is not up to us to say to Serbs and Kosovars what they have to agree or not. We have to study a possible agreement because every agreement between Serbia and Kosovo will have consequences and collateral effects on the rest of the region,” he said.