The French President, Emmanuel Macron, warned Kosovo and Serbia on Monday that they will face consequences if they do not act responsibly against the situation in the north of Kosovo. During a speech at the annual conference of French ambassadors in Paris, President Macron emphasized that France and Germany have offered a proposal for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, referring to the plan that the parties agreed on earlier this year in Brussels and in Ohrid.
“We expect a new clear commitment from both sides”, said President Macron, calling on them to work on organizing new elections in the four municipalities in the north of Kosovo, so that the Serbs return to the institutions of the country and the situation is improved.
“France and Germany have made their commitments on visa policies and other economic issues, which will be reviewed if both sides do not behave responsibly”, said President Macron, emphasizing that a careful approach is needed especially when the stability of the Balkans The West is in danger.
In June, the European Union imposed punitive measures against Kosovo, due to the government’s alleged failure to take steps to reduce tensions in the country’s northern municipalities, inhabited by a majority of Serbs.
Tensions flared after groups of Serbian citizens protested against the placement in municipal offices of Albanian mayors from the April 23 elections, which were boycotted by Serbian political parties.
The Government of Kosovo has agreed on steps to reduce tensions, by halving the presence of police units in municipal buildings in the north and taking actions to pave the way for early elections.
But the European Union has said the government’s actions “are important steps in the right direction, but more steps are needed” to ease the crisis in the north and early elections should be held as soon as possible.
The mention of the visa issue by President Macron was seen by observers in Kosovo as a warning to deepen punitive measures due to the situation in the north.
In April, the European Union decided that the citizens of Kosovo will be included in the visa-free travel regime from January 1, 2024. Kosovo is the only country in the Western Balkans that is not included in this regime and the last in the European integration processes.
The French president said on Monday that the European Union is on the path to expansion, especially with the Western Balkans region, but the bloc must be reformed if it wants to integrate new countries./VOA
FOLLOW “PANORAMA TV” LIVE © Panorama.al