Serbia’s breakaway province of intends to apply by year’s end, seeking candidacy perks
Kosovo will submit an official application for EU membership by the end of 2022, in order to gain access to the benefits of candidate status, the breakaway province’s foreign minister told local media on Wednesday.
“We said we would apply this year, and we will apply this year,” Donika Gervalla-Schwarz told KlanKosova TV. “We also notified our international partners that our goal is to apply this year, because we want to enjoy EU candidate status.”
Gervalla-Schwarz pointed out that over 90% of Kosovo’s residents favor membership in the EU and NATO, and support both as the “only path to a European future,” which she said makes the accession application “only natural.”
Kosovo is “a leader of democracy in our region,” Gervalla-Schwarz said, adding that “there is no reason for Kosovo to be treated differently from other regional countries, which are nowhere near as democratic.”
NATO occupied Kosovo in 1999, after a 78-day war against what was then Yugoslavia on behalf of ethnic Albanian separatists. The US-backed provisional government declared independence in 2008, but has not been recognized by Serbia or the UN. Five EU member states have not recognized Kosovo to this day.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told his parliament on Tuesday that the EU is trying to pressure Belgrade into recognizing Kosovo as a precondition for joining the bloc, but that he does not intend to do so while in office.
Meanwhile, Kosovo’s prime minister Albin Kurti traveled to neighboring Albania for an unscheduled visit, reportedly to discuss economic and energy issues with Albanian PM Edi Rama. Kurti’s party has openly advocated the unification of Kosovo and Albania.