Munich Security Conference welcomes agreement between Serbia and Kosovo

On the occasion of the agreement concluded in Brussels between Serbia and Kosovo, regarding measures for the long-term normalization of relations between the two states, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference and former EU representative of the Kosovo Troika, Wolfgang Ischinger, explains:


"With the agreement that has been reached between Serbia and Kosovo regarding the long-term normalization of relations between these two neighbors, both states have taken a historic step towards a common European future and the continued stabilization of south-eastern Europe. This means that the doorway into Europe can finally open - something which is long overdue, and which unfortunately was still politically unfeasible at the time of the troika discussions in 2007.


The political courage to compromise and the recognition on both sides that this is the right - and probably the only - way forward, in overcoming a past characterized by conflict and suffering and constructing the way towards a good, joint future in Europe, have earned as much respect as the significant mediation work of Lady Ashton and EU diplomacy. This allowed the EU to finally achieve an indisuptable success in negotiations - in Europe! - through which it acquired recognition and respect as a crisis management body across the world.


It is now imperative that the agreement is implemented swiftly in order to establish effective, sustainable, neighborly relationships. The EU, particularly the EU Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS), must continue to assist in this process intensively and decisively.


It should be remembered that this agreement would have remained unthinkable without the preparatory work carried out by President Martti Ahtisaari and his team. We would like to take this opportunity to thank him once again.


With the treaty between Belgrade and Prishtina, there is also no longer any reason for the five EU countries Greece, Romania, Spain, Slovakia and Cyprus not to recognize Kosovo. European management is also required in resolving this issue, in order to continue expanding, with great determination, a European community in which Kosovo, Serbia and the other countries in south-eastern Europe should be given a full and equal place. The agreement which was achieved between both countries can at the same time serve as a model for providing new impetus in solving the as yet unresolved issues in south-eastern Europe, such as those in Bosnia-Herzegovina or in the relationship between Greece and Macedonia.


The window of the history of south-eastern Europe is now wide open - for everyone involved. Ten years after the European summit at Thessaloniki, at which a European perspective was established for the west-Balkan states, as potential candidate countries, and almost 100 years after the start of the First World War, all parties involved have a duty to bring peace and stability to this region. What is now required is cohesion and political commitment from all decision-makers in the EU, so that this agreement can serve as a model and sustainable contribution to overcoming the legacy of war and crises in south-eastern Europe once and for all."

24 April 2013, by MSC