EU gives last chance to Serbia for membership talks with bloc
BRUSSELS/PRISTINA - Reuters
With the graffiti reading ‘Serbian City,’ Kosovo Serbs play chess in the city of Mitrovica. AFP photoThe European Union gave yesterday Serbia a last chance to clinch membership talks with the bloc, summoning the Balkan country to new negotiations on ending the ethnic partition of its former Kosovo province.
With speculation rising that a deal might be near, diplomats said the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, would delay a report on Serbia’s readiness to start accession talks. The report had been due yesterday, before the European Council considers its findings on April 22.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who two weeks ago declared EU-mediated talks between Kosovo and Serbia over, said she had invited the prime ministers of both sides back to Brussels today.
Serbia, which says it will never recognize Kosovo as a sovereign state, last week rejected the principles of an agreement that emerged through six months of talks led by Ashton.