Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/kosovo/serbia : Decision on Kosovo Mission Set to Be Postponed

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/kosovo/serbia : Decision on Kosovo Mission Set to Be Postponed

Article excerpt

Slovenia, which has been holding the reins of the European Union since 1 January, is in favour of postponing a decision on the deployment of the EU's Kosovo mission until after Serbia's presidential elections. "It is highly possible that a decision [on the mission] will be taken later" than it was earlier planed, the spokesperson of the Slovenian Presidency told Europolitics New Neighbours.

The member states' leaders agreed in principle, on 14 December, to send an EU-led civilian mission to Kosovo. They said that the final decision on the date and modalities of the mission would be made by the Union's foreign ministers in January. At that time it was not clear, however, when Serbia will vote in the presidential elections. Yet, in mid-December, the Serbian political parties were unable to agree on a date for the poll.

Slovenian diplomats suggest that deciding on the mission in the middle of a presidential vote (the first round will take place on 20 January and the second round is expected to follow on 3 February) would bring unnecessary tensions and could jeopardy the chances of the pro-EU candidate Boris Tadic to be re-elected Serbian president. Although opposed to Kosovo's independence, Tadic says that Belgrade must continue its EU integration bid regardless what happens to the province. According to him, it would not be beneficial to Serbia to return to the isolation of the 1990s.

It is highly possible, therefore, that the EU's foreign ministers will postpone a decision on the mission until after the second round of the elections. …

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