Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Serbian President Boris Tadic said his policy of aspiring to join the European Union and not giving up on Kosovo passed a “historic test” after a pact was reached on a nameplate for its former province in regional events.
Belgrade and Pristina negotiators agreed today in Brussels that Kosovo’s nameplate will have a reference to a United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, which ended the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 78-day bombing of Serbia in 1999 and which guarantees Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo.
That “means Kosovo will not be represented as an independent state” and serves as proof that the “policy of ‘both Europe and Kosovo’ has passed the historic test,” Tadic said in a statement e-mailed by his office.
Serbia has vowed never to recognize Kosovo’s secession, after the breakaway province unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Kosovo has been recognized by 82 countries including the U.S. and 22 of the EU’s 27 member states.
The “agreement will allow for Kosovo to participate and sign new agreements on its own account and to speak for itself at all regional meetings,” the EU said in a press statement from Brussels. The EU will start preparing a feasibility study for a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo, it said.
The agreement is an important step in Serbia’s efforts to become a candidate for EU membership. The bloc’s leaders will discuss its bid next week, just a couple of months before Serbia holds parliamentary elections due by early May. The candidacy was the top promise Tadic’s ruling Democratic Party made in 2008 when the government took office.
The Balkan nation of 7.2 million people has been trying to get closer to the EU since the fall of former leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. Over the past decade, Serbia has relied on the EU for donations, trade and investment to recover from wars, sanctions and economic mismanagement.
--Editors: Douglas Lytle, Alan Crosby
To contact the reporters on this story: Jones Hayden in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org