PodgoricaÂ – Neither Montenegro nor Serbia should close the door on their European future because of Kosovo, Svetozar Marovic, Montenegroâ€™s ruling party vice-president says.
Montenegro will not jeopardise its European Union future over Kosovo, Marovic said, adding, “I have understood that there is the same position in Serbia as well, and that Serbia, too, wants accelerated European integration.”
“There is always the issue of the price, such a road is not possible without victims, sacrifices and acceptance of new rules that regulate international norms and standards,” he told Belgrade’s Standard magazine.
Asked what guided Montenegro to recognise Kosovoâ€™s February 17 declaration of independence from Serbia, the former president of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro said that Podgorica wished to make its decisions “carefully, responsibly, and with the best intention to help Serbia, and avoid damage for itself.”
Montenegro recognised Kosovo on October 9, just a day after voting for Serbiaâ€™s resolution at the United Nations General Assembly, which seeks to question the legality of Kosovoâ€™s independence at the International Court of Justice.
Clashes broke out in the Montenegrin capital just days after Podgoricaâ€™s move, in which several people â€“ most of them police officers â€“ were injured while dozens were arrested.
Belgrade also expelled Montenegroâ€™s ambassador following the move.
Marovic however praised Serbian President Boris Tadic’s reaction in the wake of the recognition, saying it was that of a “responsible European politician.”
Tadic announced he would not impose any further penalties against Montenegro and Macedonia after their recognitions.Â
“I very much appreciate his move and most of the citizens of Montenegro agree with such a reasonable speech. Some of the leading men protesting in Montenegro are the same who protested in Belgrade against the (top Bosnian war crimes suspect Radovan) Karadzic arrest and against the democratic majority government and Mr. Tadic himself,” said Marovic.
He also rejected accusations that anti-Serb sentiment exists in Montenegro, “especially not as a part of the official policy.”
A large proportion of Montenegro citizens, about a third of the population, declare themselves as Serbs, while ethnic Albanians also make up a sizeable minority in the coastal republic.
Montenegro, Belgradeâ€™s traditional ally, was also in a loose union with Serbia up until 2006 when it voted in a referendum to become independent.