Serbia's prospects of becoming an EU candidate is suddenly much brighter:Kosovo and Serbia Reach Key DealBy MATTHEW BRUNWASSER
Published: February 24, 2012
Serbia and Kosovo, its former province, reached an agreement Friday that helps pave the way for Serbia’s gaining official “candidate” status to join the European Union.
The agreement outlines the conditions under which Kosovo can be represented at international meetings and outlines technical parameters for border controls.
European Commission leaders will meet in the coming week to decide on whether Serbia has met all the criteria to begin accession talks; a key sticking point had been the tense relations with Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. A previous E.U. meeting, in December, declined to offer Serbia an invitation, as German peacekeeping troops had come under attack by Serbs in North Kosovo.
Serbia has until now thwarted any participation by representatives of the Kosovo government in international meetings by walking out or refusing to participate. Under the new agreement, Serbia will accept international forums in which Kosovo is represented by Kosovars for the first time.
The diplomatically complex agreement states that the word “Republic” will not appear next to the name Kosovo in international forums. Instead, a footnote will refer to Security Council Resolution 1244 — which did not mention the independence of Kosovo — and a ruling by the International Court of Justice saying that Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008 was legal.