Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov has responded to the criticism of him by Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić – over Borissov’s comments that EU foreign policy chief nominee Josep Borrell should defend the “EU position” on Kosovo – by saying Serbia should come up with a permanent resolution on the Kosovo issue.
If Serbia did not come to an understanding with Kosovo, there would be no prospects for the whole region, Borissov said on July 7.
Earlier, Borissov, referring to the fact that Borrell’s Spain does not recognise Kosovo and that the issue would be a key part of the EU foreign policy chief’s job, was reported to have said that Borrell should defend the EU position, rather than that of Madrid.
In an interview with Serbian television, Dačić hit back sharply at Borissov, with the Serbian Foreign Minister saying that the EU position was that Kosovo was not independent.
Of the 28 member states of the EU, 23 – including Bulgaria – recognise Kosovo as independent. Five do not.
Borissov expressed his understanding of the Serbian position, and added: “But we are still helping our brothers, the Serbs, and it is no coincidence that next October we will be ready for the highway with Belgrade.”
He said of the Serbians: “I love them, it is difficult for them, but, no matter how painful, there must be a final decision”.
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, who has ordered the Serbian ambassador summoned to the Foreign Ministry on July 8 to discuss the remarks by Dačić, described her Serbian counterpart’s remarks as “emotional and unmerited”.
Zaharieva said that Borissov’s remarks had been political and legally correct. “The EU does not recognise states, no organisation recognises states, states are recognised by states,” according to Zaharieva.
She said that Belgrade had reciprocated to Bulgaria’s summoning of the Serbian ambassador by summoning the chargé d’affaires of the Bulgarian embassy. The Bulgarian ambassador is on leave.
“They have made a statement that they hope to clarify things, and in the end Bulgarian is a sovereign state and has the right to recognise states. We have decided to recognise Kosovo many years ago, and this has in no way, reflected, at least until now, on the bilateral relations between Serbia and Bulgaria,” she said.
Bulgaria recognised Kosovo soon after that country’s unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008.
For some time, Serbia recalled its ambassador from Sofia.
Zaharieva said that it would not be bad for Dačić to apologise, but this was his personal decision.
Serbian media reported on July 7 that President Aleksander Vučić had the “sparks” between his country and Bulgaria would die down and relations would return to normal quickly.
“I consider this a little misunderstanding,” Vučić said.