The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo are scheduled to meet with top EU officials on Thursday to try to normalise ties. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti are not expected to meet face-to-face - but the aim is to push forward with new proposals floated last weekend.
The expected talks on the sidelines of the two-day European summit come one month after a shooting involving the Serbian nationalist paramilitaries and Kosovan security forces in northern Kosovo on 24 September.
Thirty Serb gunmen crossed into northern Kosovo, killing a police officer and setting up barricades before launching an hours-long gun battle with Kosovo police.
Three gunmen were killed.
There are fears of a resumption of the violence that has characterised Serbia-Kosovo ties since Pristina unilaterally broke away from Belgrade in 2008. Serbia has never recognised the move.
Last Saturday, British, European and US diplomats presented a draft document aimed at helping to resolve their differences.
The EU, through EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, has supervised a “dialogue” between them to get things back on track.
Peter Stano, a spokesman for the EU foreign policy chief, said the EU expects “quick action by the parties to show they are committed to continue the normalisation process – by delivering on their respective dialogue obligations … as well as all past agreements – without preconditions or delays.”
The United States and the EU want Kosovo and Serbia to implement a 10-point plan put forward by Borrell in February to end months of political crises.
Kurti and Vucic gave their approval at the time but with some reservations.
The two leaders do not trust each other, and neither wants to be the first to commit without guarantees that the other will reciprocate.
The EU and US are pressuring Kosovo to allow the creation of an Association of the Serb-Majority Municipalities to coordinate work on education, health care, land planning and economic development in communities of northern Kosovo, mostly populated by ethnic Serbs.
Kurti fears that this would be a step toward creating a Serb mini-state with wide autonomy.