Spanish envoy on EU application, Kosovo

Spanish ambassador Inigo de Palacio Espana said that there is no confirmed date for forwarding Serbia’s candidacy application to the EUCouncil of Ministers.

“The EU-Serbia meeting will include political dialogue, not a formal meeting and it is hard to say whether there will be a conclusion reached for the date of submitting the Serbian application to the Council of Ministers,” Espana said.

He added that the Spanish presidency must consult with all other EU member-states, even those who propose a later period of time for the process.

“There are still the steps of preparing and sending the questionnaire, answering it, and getting an evaluation. It is almost a technical question,” Espana said.

He added that the Spanish foreign minister had promised that he would do everything in his power to promote a quick processing of Serbia’s application.

“If it is confirmed in June that a complete dedication exists to finding Hadžić and Mladić, why would we stop Serbia’ European perspective? We hope that the 27 member-states of the EU will be able to reach an agreement in June,” Espana said.

As for Greece’s proposal to have the West Balkans join the EU by 2014, Espana stated that it may be overambitious, adding “it is true that it is difficult to talk dates in the EU, since the fulfilling of requested standards varies from one state to another”.

However, Spain supports the plan as a reference point, but we should not forget that we still have plenty of work ahead in expanding towards the western Balkans, the ambassador underscored.

Spain’s top diplomatic envoy in Serbia also commented on the situation regarding Kosovo.

He told the Belgrade newspaper that Spain does not believe that the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo is compatible with international law, adding that it is also clear the proclamation was neither in accordance with the Serbian Constitution nor with UNSC Resolution 1244.

“I have carefully observed the oral debate and I believe that it will be very difficult for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to clearly decide that the declaration is legal,” he added.

“ICJ judges often have a different view on certain issues than the final official stand of the court,” Espana said. “But if you are unable to say that the declaration is legal, it means that there are serious doubts about its legality. We expect for the advice to be the instrument which will lead to a dialogue in order to find a sustainable solution and reach an agreement between Priština and Belgrade.”

“I expect that it will be in the interest of Priština to one day be a full-fledged member of the international community. For now, it is an objective problem, and without an agreement with Belgrade, it will not happen,” he said, adding “that the European perspective of the region must solve the Kosovo problem one day”.

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