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If Belgrade does not accept the Eulex mission, no membership!

(B2) The High Representative of the EU in Kosovo, Pieter Faith, repeated this on October 6 to the Serbs. "As long as Serbia causes problems in the deployment of the European mission, it cannot make any progress towards European integration." The Serbian initiative to ask the International Court of Justice to give its opinion on the legality of Kosovo's independence process is "certainly a legitimate right", he added. But it's not much help in the present circumstances. Initiative debated at the UN today (read here), while the European Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn, goes to the new independent state on Thursday.

Well-understood role-playing
However, this development must be placed in the regional context. According to European diplomats, Serbia is beginning to realize the interest of the Eulex mission there. The creation of a zone in the north of Kosovo - which would not be totally controlled by either the Serbs, the Kosovars or the internationals - risks leading to a zone of lawlessness which can threaten Serbia as much as the Kosovo. Already, taking advantage of the differences in taxation, different types of traffic (petrol, etc.) have been set up. All the more difficult to control as the region is quite mountainous.

Simply the Serbian authorities need time, in the political context specific to Serbia and vis-à-vis their public opinion in particular. "Going before the International Court of Justice" is for them the end of the Serbian action in reclaiming a territory, already detached for years from Serbia and of which they have lost all hope of regaining control - in the short term. or medium term. “By the time lawyers and magistrates are debating, the water will have flowed under the bridges,” explains an observer. And Serbia will then be able, if not to normalize its relations with Kosovo, at least no longer to prevent the deployment of the Eulex mission north of Mitrovica. The important thing is then to negotiate the European shift to benefit from an accelerated schedule


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).