By Milos Mitrovic – Belgrade
Serbia is absolutely near to get the date for the start of the accession negotiations with the European Union after the Brussels agreement implementation plan was acquired by Belgrade and Pristina, German ambassador to Serbia Heinz Wilhelm said on Tuesday. “The implementation plan is the key issue both for the Germany and the other EU member states”, Wilhelm stressed in the interview for Belgrade daily “Vecernje novosti”. “However, in order for German Government and Bundestag (Parliament) to approve the date for the start of the accession negotiations, Berlin expects from Serbia the first concrete steps in the implementation of the Brussels agreement”, Wilhelm added.
The Brussels agreement about the normalization of the relations between Belgrade and Pristina was initialed on April 19th. Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia signed the Brussels agreement implementation plan last week. The abolishing of the so-called Serbian parallel institutions in the North of Kosovo is one of the crucial elements of the Brussels agreement and the implementation plan. However, the representatives of the Serbs from the North are opposed to both documents. Serbia expects that Brussels will grant the date for the accession negotiations at the EU summit on June 28th.
Ambassador Wilhelm said that he believed EU would grant the date at the summit. At the same time, he recalled that German Foreign Minister Guido Westewelle had said during his visit to Belgrade last week what the German priority was. “Germany considers the deal about the implementation and the first concrete steps the precondition for the start of the accession negotiations”, Wilhelm specified. Wilhelm reiterated that German MP Andreas Schockenhoff would visit Belgrade and Pristina on the eve of the EU summit.
However, Belgrade “Danas” daily learned that the visit by Schockenhoff, who is a high official of the German ruling party Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was not certain. “Schockenhoff and another MP from the German ruling coalition are due to visit Belgrade and Pristina on June 19th. Nevertheless, the visit is not “100% certain” and it exclusively depends on the implementation of the Brussels agreement. CDU is still doubtful about the effectiveness of the implementation”, “Danas” reported. The position of the most conservative CDU faction is that Serbia should not get the date for the start of the accession negotiations before the general elections in Germany that are due to be held on September 22nd. “The enlargement of the EU is not popular issue among the conservative German voters”, diplomatic sources told “Danas”.
Ambassador Wilhelm said that Serbia should not expect any additional conditions in regard to getting the date. “Granting the UN membership to Kosovo was mentioned during the earlier discussions that were focused on the expectations that Serbia should not block Kosovo to enter the international organizations. However, the issue is not at the table now”, Wilhelm explained.