Hungary will vote against Kosovo's EU membership bid, further fuelling tensions

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during an annual public address in Belgrade, Serbia.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during an annual public address in Belgrade, Serbia. Copyright Darko Vojinovic/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved
By Gael Camba
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Hungary has renewed its support for Serbia in its strategy to obstruct Kosovo's EU membership bid, as well as with the UN and the Council of Europe.

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Hungary has renewed its support for Serbia in its strategy to obstruct Kosovo's EU membership bid, as well as with the UN and the Council of Europe.

It follows a temporary and fragile appeasement between Serbia and Kosovo, which the EU and US brokered last week.

"The premature admission of Kosovo by various European entities may jeopardise the search for reconciliation", says Péter Szijjártó, Hungary's foreign minister.

"Therefore, if there is a vote on whether to accept Kosovo as a member of the Council of Europe, the government will vote no," Szijjártó said at a meeting with Hungary's foreign minister in Budapest on Wednesday.

Barricades removed

The agreement is for Kosovo to recognise the Association of the Serbian Municipalities in the north of Kosovo, and for Serbia to stop lobbying against Kosovo's membership to any international organization.

After the agreement, ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo removed the barricades they had erected in the streets in protest at what they saw as bullying by Pristina. 

However, both parties seem far from reaching a long-term deal, as Serbia says Kosovo needs to make concessions.

But Pristina claims that Belgrade isn’t complying: "Serbia has sent letters to five countries: Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Greece asking them not to allow Kosovo's application for EU membership, which is a direct violation of the agreement for which Serbia is insisting on us to implement", says Besnik Bislimi, Kosovo's deputy Prime minister.

Pressure from the West

The US continues pilling pressure on Pristina to get a deal.

"Kosovo must fulfil all commitments within the dialogue, including the formation of the Association of municipalities with a Serbian majority", says Derek Chollet, senior advisor of the US Department of State.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurtin and Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, still haven't met, despite the EU's promise of a dialogue. Bislimi also stated that the deal supports Serbia's interests and that there should not be any mutual recognition.

The deadline for the meeting has been set for the end of March.

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