Report: Kosovo Conflict Hinders Serbia’s EU Candidacy

Posted February 2nd, 2012 at 2:45 pm (UTC-5)
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The International Crisis Group says the ongoing conflict between Kosovo and Serbia is threatening Kosovo's internal stability and Serbia's efforts to join the European Union.

In a report released Thursday, the Brussels-based research institution says the Kosovo government's push to establish control of its entire territory, especially its borders with Serbia, and northern Kosovo Serbs' determination to resist, could lead to more fighting and casualties.

With regards to Serbia, the report says Belgrade has lost the control and trust of the northern Kosovo Serb community. The International Crisis Group urges Serbia to accept the Kosovo government as an equal, even if it has not formally recognized it.

Serbia has never accepted Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, which has been recognized by more than 80 countries.

Last year, ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo set up roadblocks along the border with Serbia after Kosovo's ethnic Albanian government tried to take control of the area, which was under de-facto Serb rule.

The dispute led to violent clashes that left scores of people injured and one customs officer killed.

In December, the European Union decided to delay until March a decision on whether to accept Serbia as a candidate to join the bloc. The EU called on Serbia to improve relations with Kosovo and implement previously reached agreements.