Novakovic: Progress in dialogue crucial for access to the Brussels package of six billion euros

Igor Novaković
Source: Kosovo Online

The key for Serbia and Kosovo to receive funds from the EU's six billion euros development aid package for the Western Balkans, which was the reason for the recent visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to the region, will also be the normalization of relations between the two sides, according to Igor Novakovic from the Center for International and Security Affairs.

Novakovic points out for Kosovo Online that in addition to this, progress will be measured in areas crucial to the accession process of the entire Western Balkans to the single market of the European Union and the creation of a single market in the region.

"In the case of Serbia and Kosovo, the emphasis will also be on the normalization process, i.e., on fulfilling what was agreed in Brussels and Ohrid earlier this year. It has already been said that all candidates and potential candidates will have to present individual reports, or plans for the implementation of reforms by 2027 during the next year. I don't believe that in the case of normalization, this will have to be included in the plan; rather, it will be measured in the case of Serbia through Chapter 35, or through the dynamics of negotiations and implementation," Novakovic says.

He points out that it has already been announced that if reforms are not implemented, the money will not be paid.

"In other words, the money is paid or given only after the reforms have been carried out. So I believe that will be the case for Belgrade and Pristina as well. I don't see the possibility of any big surprises there," he says.

However, Novakovic raises the question of whether the sum decided by the EU for the Western Balkans is sufficient.

"Overall, it represents a good signal for the Western Balkans. But it seems to me that we are talking about an intermediate step here, since there are much more favorable signals going to the former members of the Eastern Partnership, namely to Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia," Novakovic concludes.