Greek Prime Minister Affirms Unchanged Stance on Kosovo During Talks with Serbia

 Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated on Monday in Belgrade that Greece's stance towards Kosovo remains unchanged, emphasizing that the best way to ensure stability in the region is through the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, mediated by the European Union.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić shaking hands in Belgrade, February 12, 2024
  Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić shaking hands in Belgrade, February 12, 2024
He made these comments after meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, discussing cooperation in the energy sector between Belgrade and Athens.

Greece is one of the five EU member states that do not recognize Kosovo's independence, but it has previously accepted its passports and allowed the opening of a Kosovo trade office in Athens.

“Our stance on Kosovo remains unchanged, and we continue to believe that the best way to normalize relations between the two parties is through European mediation and dialogue, which would greatly contribute to the stability of the region, a goal we all aim for. We have closely observed and followed the developments of recent months, and Mr. Vučić is seeking stability,” said the Greek prime minister, according to an official translation.

He expressed support for Serbia's accession to the European Union, emphasizing that the integration of the Western Balkans is a strategic goal of the bloc.

The Serbian president stated that his country is determined to continue and accelerate its European path and expects clear signals from the European Union for its support on this journey.

However, despite professing such intentions, Serbia maintains close ties with Russia and has refused to join Western sanctions against Moscow due to its aggression in Ukraine.

The integration of Serbia, as well as Kosovo, into the European Union is conditioned on the normalization of relations between them. A year ago, the parties agreed to a deal that does not entail mutual recognition but seeks good neighborly relations, recognition of documents and symbols, and respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It requires the parties not to obstruct each other in the integration processes and to fulfill all previously reached agreements in negotiations mediated by the European Union.

The agreement was welcomed by Western diplomacy and generated optimism that its implementation would begin immediately. However, this did not happen, and the parties experienced periods of high tension.

Last autumn, the European Union requested Kosovo to establish the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities, implying greater autonomy for this community, while Serbia was asked to fulfill parts of the agreement that lead to the 'de facto' recognition of Kosovo.

In December, Serbia stated through a document that it would not implement anything leading to a recognition of Kosovo, while Pristina has not yet begun work on the association.

The European Union reiterated several times that the agreement reached on February 27 in Brussels and on March 18 in Ohrid is legally binding for the parties.
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