Serbian President: Kosovo could delay Serbia’s EU bid

Serbian President Boris Tadic on Thursday raised the possibility that Serbia will not become an EU candidate member state by the end of the year due to the dispute over Kosovo.

“We have to frankly tell our citizens that there is a possibilitythat we will not obtain the candidate status by the end of the year, nor a date for the start of accession negotiations” with the European Union, Tadic said.

Tadic had been optimistic about Serbia’s EU bid, especially after the recent arrests of Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel dampened Serbian hopes on her visit to Belgrade on Thursday. She insisted that Serbia improve relations with Kosovo to obtain EU candidacy.

Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence but fulfilling Merkel’s conditions would, Belgrade fears, effectively mean giving up its claim on Kosovo, a former province with an ethnic Albanian majority.

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