EU Special Representative for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak conceded on Tuesday that there were ‘two tracks’ on Western Balkans policy in 2020, an EU track and a US track.
In a talk hosted by the German Embassy in Washington on Tuesday, Miroslav Lajcak lamented the state of EU-US cooperation on the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue during 2020.
Lajcak, the EU’s Special Representative for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, told German Ambassador to Washington DC Emily Margerethe Haber that in the last year the “tandem between the US and the EU was not working.”
He added that while previously the US and the EU have worked “hand in glove” on foreign policy in the Western Balkans, in 2020 there were “clearly two tracks – the US track and the EU track.” The Special Representative stated that this situation was not the choice of the European Union and caused confusion amongst officials in the Western Balkans.
Lajcak also revealed that all of the documents signed by Kosovo and Serbia in 2020 under the auspices of US Special Presidential Envoy Richard Grenell were reached without any consultation with the EU, despite the crossover in aims and pre-existing European infrastructure projects.
He added that the documents signed in Washington DC on September 4 “pushed Kosovo and Serbia further away from a European future as they did not meet European standards.”
However, Lajcak expressed hope that the new US administration led by President-elect Joe Biden would restore close cooperation between the EU and US on foreign policy in the region. He described the new administration as being “well aware of the US legacy and US achievements in the Western Balkans” and containing “people who have already proven themselves to be reliable partners.”
“We won’t have to explain things from scratch,” the Special Representative added.
Lajcak has played a key role in mediating the EU-facilitated Kosovo-Serbia dialogue since it resumed in July 2020, and stated that the time has come to bring the discussions to an end through a comprehensive agreement on normalisation of relations. He added that the agreement must be clear in terms of how it is implemented, with responsibilities and timelines explicitly identified.
In terms of the resumption of the dialogue, Lajcak stated that it was important to wait for the new Kosovo Government to be formed, but added that it was crucial to build upon what was achieved by the Hoti Government so far.
12 January 2021 - 18:10