Press Release

Serbia Does Not Merit EU Accession Status After Tadic Again Snubs Kosovo Says UK MP

8 December 2011

Speaking at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC Denis MacShane MP, former Minister for the Balkans in the UK Government said that the EU should not reward Serbia’s refusal to bring about a  final settlement in the Western Balkans by its continuing refusal to admit that Kosovo exists.

MacShane, a senior foreign minister in Tony Blair’s government travels regularly to the Balkans and has just published a book, ‘Why Kosovo Still Matters”. “Today we have in a nutshell the problem that confronts all policy-makers in the Balkans. The president of Kosovo, Aitfete Jahjaga, one of the new young women political leaders in the region addresses the Kosovan Parliament in Serbian, appealing for help from Belgrade to find a settlement. To speak in Serbian will be seen by some ultra-nationalists amongst Kosovo Albanians as a provocation. But Kosovo is Albanian and Serb just as Spain is Spanish and Catalan, Belgium is Flemish and French, Switzerland is German and French and Italian. She is reaching out to Serbs in Kosovo and to the political elites in Belgrade with this linguistic gesture.

“But from Belgrade we have an article from my friend, President Boris Tadic, in the Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeitung, saying No, Never, No Way will Serbia recognize Kosovo as an independent nation state in line with the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague and along with 85 other nations like the US, France, Germany, the UK, Japan, Canada and Turkey.

“It cannot be right for the EU to reward such intransigence and contempt for EU policy on recognition which is backed by the democratic international community. Sadly I believe that the EU should continue to try and knock heads together but it would be wrong to open accesses negotiations for Serbia based on the Serb nationalist myth that Kosovo is just a breakaway province that one day will return to Belgrade’s rule.

“In his FAZ article, Mr Tadic makes a bizarre comparision between West and East Germany – one in the European Community, and one outside until reunification. But there is no question of “reunification” of Kosovo and Serbia. In addition, there were many West German politicians at height of the Cold War who refused to recognize East Germany until Willy Brandt came along and decided that reality was moer important than fantasy. The reality is that Kosovo exists and the fantasy is that Serbia should not exercise hegemony over any part of Kosovo.

“It is a tragedy that President Tadic, a profoundly decent man, has not had the political support in Belgrade to face down his ultra-nationalist and a the remaining nostalgics for the days of Greater Serbia in the Milosevic era but the EU cannot afford to compromise its principle and values by indulging Belgrade’s belief that it does not have to come to terms with the reality of Kosovo’s existence,” Dr MacShane told international policy experts at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC today ( 1230 EST 8th December).