Belgrade - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on Tuesday accused the European Union of “deceiving” Serbia with a cooperation offer and moved to block it, saying it was a part of the Western plan to dismember Serbia of Kosovo. “The political agreement that the EU has proposed while it deploys a mission to dismember our country is a deception … by signing, Serbia would indirectly recognize the independence of Kosovo,” Kostunica said in a statement, paving the way to a government crisis.
The EU last week offered the broad political and economic cooperation deal, saying it was a signal affirming Serbia’s European perspective.
However, EU countries continued preparing a law-enforcing mission for deployment in Kosovo once it declares independence, presumably within days, despite strong opposition from Belgrade to both plans.
Kostunica has called the Serbian parliament to urgently meet and discuss the deal offered by the EU and its plan to deploy the law-enforcing mission. The deal was on offer for signing on Thursday.
The majority in Serbian parliament opposes closer ties with the EU in protest at the plan to send the mission, to be finalized on February 18. Kosovo Albanian leaders said they would declare a split from Serbia in February.
The majority in the Serbian assembly does is not the same which formed Kostunica’s government coalition.
Kostunica’s cabinet includes the Democratic Party of the strongly pro-European President Boris Tadic, who won another term in a close run-off vote against the ultra-nationalist Tomislav Nikolic.
It was expected that the agreement offered by Brussels may shatter the coalition of Tadic and Kostunica, as the conservative premier shares the view with the nationalist opposition that Serbia should turn away from the EU in protest at its support of Kosovo.
Kostunica, whose popularity has dwindled into single digits, could still avoid early elections by entering into a pact with nationalists.