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Serbia in the EU, in 2012 or 2013?

(B2) Should Serbian emotions towards Kosovo be taken seriously? Yes, if we are to believe the tone of the main leaders who, again, yesterday, said in fact “never without Kosovo”, “choosing between Kosovo and Europe, I choose Kosovo”… He does not You should not fall for such lures.

What are the Serbs trying to negotiate? Certainly not Kosovo. They have already lost it, like the four wars already lost from 1991 to 1999 (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo). And, even if officially they do not want to recognize it, in their concrete negotiations with the EC on the stabilization agreement (the ASA), they barely mention the fate of their former province.

Kosovo does not appear in the plans for the allocation of future European funds for Serbia. “It has never been like this. And Serbia has never made this question a prerequisite,” an official close to the matter confided to me (as they say when they don't want to cite a highly placed source).

Isn't the Serbian interest more in the EU? Despite the denials of their leaders, doesn't the objective rather seem to be to negotiate an accelerated accession to the EU in order, if not to catch up with Croatia (Croatia is aiming for 2011 for its accession), at least to have an almost simultaneous?

Which does not pose any major problems, except for the question of war criminals (which is about to be resolved, at least if Karadzic's arrest on Sunday evening is to be believed). By the admission of the European inner circle, Serbia is “more solid” than certain already member states (Romania and especially Bulgaria) or candidate countries (Macedonia).

Serbia, member of the EU by 2013?
A year ago, Janez Jansa, the Slovenian Prime Minister, confided to me – after a European Council – that he saw the accession of a majority of Balkan states by the end of the structural funds period (2013). And we can believe that this man is generally well informed about countries which were, until recently, in the same State. For France, which holds the presidency of the EU for the second half of 2008, bringing about a recognized candidacy from Serbia would be a great victory, both for the past and for the future.

A future blocking power… for Kosovo (which could bite its fingers)
The interest is well understood by the Serbs. Once inside the EU, Serbia will have a say in future memberships. Decisions are taken unanimously. Serbia will then be able to calmly block any negotiation commitment, or even the opening or closing of a chapter (as France threatens to do for Turkey), or the signing of the global accession treaty for a future independent Kosovar state... unless by then she changes her mind.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).