EU May Impose Sanctions against Serbia and Kosovo

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The European Union does not exclude sanctions against Serbia and Kosovo if further dialogue attempts fail. According to European Pravda, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell stated this after a meeting of member states’ foreign ministers on Monday. Borrell noted that he had told the ministers about the details of the latest talks in Brussels on June 22. The diplomat said that EU countries are very concerned about the ongoing tensions in northern Kosovo and call on the parties to work towards normalization. At the same time, he noted as a positive step the release of three Kosovo police officers who had been held in Belgrade. “The member states will take steps, if necessary, to increase the EU’s influence and support the dialogue on normalization... The countries are ready to take further action if there is no progress. And as rightly pointed out, we expect European behavior from future EU members,” Borrell outlined. As the Balkan Observer specifies, responding to further questions from journalists, Borrell noted that these could be “political and financial” measures. He said member states and the European Commission could consider restricting political contacts and launch financial measures. He added that such potential pressure measures would be reversible. Borrell claimed that contacts with Belgrade and Pristina would continue in the near future. As a reminder, during the talks in Brussels, the Serbian president and the Kosovo prime minister refused to meet together. The EU suggests that Kosovo immediately cancel police operations near the buildings of local government in the north of Kosovo, and that the mayors elected in the last elections temporarily perform their duties elsewhere. In return, Serbia must guarantee that Kosovo Serb protesters move away from the buildings together with the Kosovo police. After the meeting, Borrell said that both sides had agreed on the need for early local elections in Kosovo’s northern municipalities (since local Serbs had ignored previous elections and on that basis did not recognize the newly elected mayors). The Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija declared independence in 2008 and strives international membership. More than half of the 193 UN nations, including Moldova, Russia, India and China, oppose recognizing Kosovo. 5 of the 27 EU countries do not recognize Kosovo’s independence.