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Rajoni

"A new challenge for Serbia, it is closing the door to EU membership"/ DW: What is the problem with the Ohrid Agreement?

"A new challenge for Serbia, it is closing the door to EU membership"/

A new challenge for Serbia – the EU wants to include the provisions of the Ohrid Agreement in chapter 35 of the negotiations. What does this mean? As the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vu?i?, pointed out, "for Serbia, the admission of Kosovo to the United Nations, the UN, is not even open for discussion, and that the French, the Germans, the Italians, all the Europeans, the Americans, and everyone knows about it." . Aleksandar Vu?i? said that "two countries are strongly pushing this initiative", but did not specify which countries it is about.

Closed doors of the EU?
Some Western diplomats point out that Serbia is closing the door to EU membership by objecting to the Ohrid Agreement being part of Chapter 35, and the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, has also declared on this issue. Orban said that "if the Ohrid Agreement is included in the negotiation framework, despite Serbia's opposition, Belgrade can always rely on Budapest".

In these statements, it was also noted that the impression of urgency prevails on this issue, because there is no progress in the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina. This urgency is explained by the need to resolve some things before the next European Parliament elections in June 2024.

Normalization of relations = recognition of Kosovo
The main problem when it comes to this topic is that Aleksandar Vucic behaves as if he had not signed the Ohrid Agreement, Naim Leo Beshiri, director of the Institute for European Affairs, tells DW. "If Kosovo officially becomes part of chapter 35, then it is clear that in the future the modality of Kosovo's recognition by Serbia will be negotiated. If it becomes part of the negotiation framework, this also means that the five EU countries that have not recognized Kosovo are asking Serbia to recognize it. This also means that if at the beginning of the negotiations with the EU it was not clear what the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina means, I think that now, ten years later, it is crystal clear", emphasizes Beshiri.

In Belgrade, first of all, the statement that Serbia will not oppose Kosovo's membership in all international organizations is contested, emphasizes Igor Novakovi? from the Center for International Affairs and Security. "I think that President Vu?i? especially emphasized that it is about the possible entry of Kosovo into the UN, that is, into institutions like UNESCO, due to the issue of Serbian cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo. If we remember the red lines, at the moment when both agreements were reached, it was clearly emphasized by the representatives of Serbia that the red line was Kosovo's entry into the UN, so Serbia's position is not very new," Novakovic told DW .

Naim Leo Beshiri emphasizes that "every year that Serbia loses with a specific proposal, it leads to an even worse proposal for the country. Every new proposal that has come to the table has been worse for Serbia", says Beshiri and adds that the statements of the president of Serbia "how the introduction of the Ohrid Agreement into the negotiation process means that the EU does not want for us to continue these negotiations, it is a bombastic and anti-European statement".

"This continues until the moment when he faces the facts, and these facts prove that almost 80 percent of the Serbian economy depends on the EU. Vucic's rule does not exist without the financial support of the EU. This is an attempt to scare some European leaders that he may turn to Beijing or Moscow, but this bluff does not work, because it is clear to everyone that you cannot redirect your economy to any market other than the one around you , assesses the director of the Institute for European Affairs. Igor Novakovic believes that "Kosovo's admission to the UN does not depend on Serbia", and adds that "if this really happens, the inclusion of the Ohrid Agreement may complicate the European integration of Serbia, but now the question is whether an agreement will be reached on this within the European Union itself".

We must also emphasize that the European integration of Serbia does not exist, Naim Leo Beshiri emphasizes and adds that "this has been the case for the last five years and that there is no visible change in Serbia's reforms on the way to the EU." In the last 11 years, Aleksandar Vucic has shown that he does not want to fight corruption and organized crime and ensure the independence of the judiciary, because this would mean cutting the branch on which he and his closest associates are sitting . However, the support for the EU in Serbia is still around 50 percent, despite the reckless campaign of the ruling elite against the EU, the West and against social reforms in Serbia", concludes the director of the Institute for European Affairs.