Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Serbian President Boris Tadic isn’t “optimistic” his country will become a candidate for European Union membership next month and said success of the bid ultimately depends on the will of citizens in its former province of Kosovo.
The Western Balkan nation launched a new round of talks with officials from Pristina today under the auspices of the EU.
“Today we are a bit farther away from the solution than we were last night,” Tadic told reporters in Belgrade.
Serbia’s failure to make substantial progress in EU- mediated talks with Kosovo over trade, border control and mutual recognition of documents led to a delay in December on awarding the country candidate status. It is also needs to agree to a nameplate for Kosovo in regional events.
“I cannot express any optimism about gaining the candidacy” next month and “I can only remind you that the status doesn’t depend on us only, it depends on every EU member state and on Kosovo, which is not even an EU member and which is a state only in bilateral relations,” he said at an event for NCR Corp. in the Serbian capital.
Problems in the current round of talks relate to the “Pristina delegation proposing solutions which have nothing to do with reality,” he said, referring to demands for Belgrade to agree to a nameplate for Kosovo in regional events.
Kosovo, recognized by 82 countries including 22 EU members and the U.S., wants Serbia to recognize its independence, unilaterally declared in 2008. Serbia has vowed never to recognize the secession and instead wants a broad political agreement with Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority.
--Editors: Douglas Lytle, James M. Gomez
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