Serbia-Kosovo Talks in Brussels End Without Accord, EU Says

Talks by Serbia and Kosovo on normalizing relations ended without an agreement and a “very narrow but deep” gap between the two sides, the European Union said.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo Premier Hashim Thaci met yesterday in Brussels in the latest round of EU-sponsored talks in a session that lasted more than 12 hours, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement late yesterday.

“A number of proposals were put on the table,” Ashton said. “The gap between the two sides is very narrow but deep.”

Ashton said yesterday’s session was “the last time we will meet formally” in EU-mediated negotiations.

“They will now both go back and consult with their colleagues in the capitals and will let me know in the next few days of their decision,” Ashton said.

The Serbian dinar fell 0.3 percent against the euro at the opening of trade in Belgrade to 111.9860 at 9:01 a.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg

Granting Rights

Serbia wants Thaci to grant Serbs in the north of Kosovo decision-making rights on police and the judiciary and to pledge to keep the Kosovo army out of Serbian communities.

“We currently have no agreement but we have some additional time to maybe find a solution, to maybe gather impressions after this difficult day,” he told reporters in Brussels after the meeting.

The EU wants the two sides, at loggerheads since the wars of the 1990s that led to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, to reach a political settlement and move ahead with steps toward EU entry.

“Unfortunately, we still have hesitance on the Serbian side,” which asked for “additional time for additional consultations,” while for Kosovo “the best solution would be to establish good-neighborly relations which would open up a new chapter of” Euro-Atlantic future, Thaci said.

Serbia, a candidate for EU membership since March 2012, is struggling to get a date for the start of EU entry talks in June. Kosovo is in line for a Stabilization and Association Agreement, the first formal step toward membership in the 27- nation bloc. Both need deeper EU ties after the 1990s civil wars stunted the region’s transition from communism.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.