European Parliament deputy, Knut Fleckenstein, says he fears about possible further deterioration of Belgrade-Pristina relations after the introduction of new tax measures on goods from Serbia and estimates that these measures are a step backward.
Fleckenstein said in an interview with Deutsche Welle that Pristina should abolish additional taxes, and Belgrade shouldn't pressure Kosovo in its efforts.
Regional cooperation in the economy is crucial, said Fleckenstein, and recalled that the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, demanded the abolition of imposed duties because they are contrary to the CEFTA agreement.
He pointed out that "the parties should send signals of peace and cooperation in dialogue".
Fleckenstein assessed that Pristina's move came due to risen frustrations that emerged over the refusal to accept Kosovo into Interpol, and due to delaying the process of obtaining visa liberalization, which he considers sad.
All this, however, he says, should not lead to an unwanted reaction.
When asked what the EU is doing to stabilize the situation, he says that the international community has demanded "a stable and strong Kosovo", which would positively influence the process of recognizing Kosovo as a state.
- But we also expect from Serbia not to hinder Kosovo's efforts to fully recognize statehood, even if (Belgrade) opposes it. Good neighborly relations between the two countries, Kosovo and Serbia, are crucial for peace in the Balkans. The beginning of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is a historic success that Federica Mogherini deserves. We have confidence in our role as an intermediary - said Fleckenstein, deputy of the German SPD.
- Both the European Commission and the European Parliament have given their consent for visa liberalization. If the EU Council or, in other words, some member states do not support this attitude, this is tragic. But the reasons for this are within the countries that do not agree with it and it partly depends on the nature of the internal policy. Member States should be aware of their responsibility for the development of the Balkans. Progress made must lead to visa liberalization, so that citizens should not lose hope and confidence in Europe. The Member States must also show that they are keeping their word - he said.
He assessed that both Belgrade and Pristina can have joint future in the European Union only if they both show progress.
(Telegraf.co.uk / Tanjug)