Serbian Government Adopts Negotiation Position for Chapter 15 

The Serbian government adopted its negotiation position for Chapter 15 – Energy in preparation of a an inter-governmental conference as part of the country’s pre-accession talks with the European Union. 

A Mining and Energy Ministry press release quoted Minister Zorana Mihailovic as saying that the two main obstacles that prevented the opening of that chapter had been removed. She said that an action plan on mandatory reserves of crude oil and its derivatives had been adopted along with a plan to reorganize the state-owned Srbijagas natural gas provider, adding that this will allow the authorities to align Serbian law with the EU acquis communautaire. 

She recalled that laws on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency had been adopted along with changes to the energy law to provide a regulatory framework in line with EU directives. 

The Mining and Energy Ministry is coordinating the efforts of the negotiation group for energy. 

Kosovo Upgrades Trade Mission in Athens

Greece says it has decided to upgrade the status of Pristina’s trade office in Athens and adds the recognition of Kosovo has not been an issue, the Greek ‘I Kathimerini’ daily has reported on Friday (04.06), during Nikos Dendias, the chief of the Greek diplomacy, visit to Pristina.  

The daily said the Minister’s visit came “in a particularly critical phase’, when Athens was under pressure regarding the level of its diplomatic relations with Kosovo.” 

“Although the possibility of recognising that country (Kosovo) is not talked about in Athens, the upgrade of Kosovo’s trade mission in Greece has been decided upon”, the daily said. 

That means, the paper adds, the discussion about political issues at the level of foreign ministries’ directorates will be possible in the office. 

However, it added the office “won’t have access to Greek Foreign Minister, his deputy, general-secretary, and will not be allowed to use Kosovo’s symbols and flag.” 

The paper quoted its sources saying, “that will possibly be the last concession Athens can offer to Pristina in this phase.” 

The main reasons for Greece’s refusal to recognise Kosovo’s independence are that it will be a precedent regarding its issue with divided Cyprus and Athens’ dispute with Ankara over it, the paper has said. 

New Non-Paper on Western Balkans Sent to Brussels

Four Visegrad Group countries and Austria have sent a non-paper concerning the region of the Western Balkans to European leaders in Brussels. 

Reportedly, the document is not dealing with the border changes but demands the European Union’s support for the whole region. 

The information was briefly confirmed by Bosnia’s Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic. 

“Yes, we have been officially informed and I am glad about such approach. Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as other countries of the region, has a clear membership perspective. We have always been an essential part of Europe, now we are only in the process of reaching advanced European standards in the functioning and strengthening of the state”, Turkovic said earlier. 

According to her, the countries that sent the non-paper wish to include the future member states in the talks on the future of the EU, which is an “important signal we will not be left to wait for too long on the progress towards the membership.” 

“At the same time, this is good for the EU too, which is not complete without a stable and European Western Balkans”, said Turkovic. 

The Visegrad Group consists of four EU and NATO member states: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, and it is aimed to advance the military, cultural, economic and energy cooperation within this alliance. 

Dacic Says Serbia Will Not Support Sanctions Against Russia

Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic said in Moscow on Monday (31.05) that Serbia will never support sanctions against Russia. 

“I want to say once again that Serbia will never support the sanctions against the Russian Federation imposed by international organizations or certain states”, he said. Dacic is in Moscow at the invitation of State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. 

A press release on the State Duma web site said that they discussed high level, dynamic cooperation between the two countries. “We remain committed to further developing brotherly relations”, Dacic is quoted as saying. 

Volodin is quoted as saying that Belgrade and Moscow share views on some issues and added that interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states is impermissible especially in terms of imposing values. 

Biden Administration Fully Accepts Washington Agreement

Serbia’s Ambassador to the United States, Marko Djuric, said that the administration of US President Joseph Biden accepts all obligations from the Washington Agreement, which was reached during the time of former President Donald Trump. 

Djuric told ‘Politika’ that he spoke with representatives of the US State Department, the National Security Council and people from the new administration in recent weeks and that he heard encouraging messages regarding the attitude towards the Washington Agreement. 

As for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Djuric said that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti „in recent weeks has shown a tendency towards spite and not an overly constructive approach, even in relation to the suggestions of top representatives of the American administration.” 

„From the talks we had in previous weeks, it follows that the United States will support the efforts of the European Union as the main responsible facilitator of the dialogue based on the mandate it got from the United Nations Security Council in 2011″, he stressed. 

He said that “bearing in mind that since the beginning of the year, instead of suppressing violence, we have witnessed dozens of attacks on Serbian Orthodox Church property and messages about the abolition of endangered church property and Serbian shrines, it is a confirmation of immaturity and unwillingness to take responsibility for the security and protection of shrines.”