Violence at the Kosovo border is doing nothing to improve people's lives and can only hold back the EU integration process, EP delegation head Eduard Kukan
Eduard Kukan, head of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, spoke with SETimes about the recent developments in northern Kosovo.
SETimes: Could you comment on the attacks against KFOR in Northern Kosovo?
Eduard Kukan: First of all, any incidents or acts of violence in the north of Kosovo do not help to make life of people there any better. Therefore, the EU has initiated the dialogue [intending] to help to solve practical issues, which would also allow Kosovo and Serbia to make progress in their relations and EU integration. Instead, we see people on barricades and attacks on KFOR. This is clearly unacceptable.
Every person should have a right to protest, however these protests should be organised in a responsible manner. Violence against the international missions is a dangerous precedence and should be condemned.
SETimes: How should the International Community and Kosovo deal with the recent event?
Kukan: EULEX has launched an investigation into what has happened on Tuesday (September 27th) and I believe that the individuals who used violence against KFOR should be brought to justice. As for Kosovo and Serbia, both should assist the international community in restoring order in the North and enable the freedom of movement and trade in this part. Moreover, they should send clear messages to those who are responsible for the violence, that by such actions they are harming not only themselves, but also the interests of Serbia and Kosovo.
SETimes: The upcoming negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels have been put on hold; how do you believe that will be interpreted by all parties involved?
Kukan: I do not think that I should engage in speculations about political interpretations of the interruption of the dialogue. I also do not believe that all political actors in Belgrade and Pristina will be of the same opinion as to why this happened. I am sure that we will see a range of different reactions and interpretations on both sides. Clearly, the dialogue is a sensitive diplomatic process and as such, it has been used and misused for political purposes on both sides. I do not expect this to change.
Nevertheless, I would like to stress that the European Union attaches great importance to the dialogue and consider it a useful instrument for achieving progress in Serbia and Kosovo relations and integration.
SETimes: Serbia has called for dialogue on the situation at the Northern gates. How do you believe the EU and Kosovo will respond to calls for more dialogue, and how do think all sides should treat further dialogue?
Kukan: Again, I would not like to speculate about the future dialogue but I believe that eventually a practical and political solution will have to be found. The solution should be in the interest of all sides, as at the moment the north of Kosovo is a security threat for Serbia, Kosovo and whole international community.
Nevertheless, at this point the EU should remain firm in its initial plan, which is to bring results to concrete technical issues that are preventing the progress of Serbia and Kosovo, and in the broader context, the whole region.
SETimes: What impact will the latest events have on the EU integration process for Serbia and Kosovo? What must Serbia do at this point to receive candidate status and accession into the EU?
Kukan: As I said earlier, any incidents and acts of violence especially towards international missions are not acceptable for the European institutions. Politicians on both sides have to show courage and contribute to a solution of the situation, otherwise it will hamper their progress in the integration processes. Serbia and Kosovo should clearly set their priorities and decide which path they want to take. If it is European integration, then they should understand that they must come up, among others, with a lasting and peaceful solution for the north of Kosovo.
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