Check against delivery!
Before I start talking about the meeting on the high-level Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, allow me to express my condolences to the governments and to the people of Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, to all affected by these horrible floods that have been affecting Central and Western Europe during the weekend. There is a high level of casualties, of dead and missing persons. With deep emotion, I want to transmit my condolences and my sorrow, first to my colleagues here at the Commission, the Ministers with whom I am working every day, and to the people affected by this tragedy.
Going back to the high-level Dialogue, today I will host the second high-level meeting of the Dialogue on normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia since the election of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr Albin Kurti. It is going to be the second one, the first one was not very fruitful, let us hope that today it will be more important from the point of the view of the results and the atmosphere.
As before, the parties will be represented by the President of Serbia [Aleksandar Vučić] and the Prime Minister of Kosovo [Albin Kurti]. I will be chairing this meeting together with the European Union Special Representative [of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue] Miroslav Lajčák, and the two sides will also be represented by their respective chief negotiators.
It is good that we are able to meet again before the summer break and only one month after our first meeting in June. Keeping regular contacts is crucial and it shows commitment to the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
We will continue today our discussions on the progress achieved so far, on the next steps ahead of us and on the way forward to continue developing this Dialogue. I expect both parties to approach the meeting in a constructive and pragmatic manner.
Kosovo and Serbia need to finally close the chapter of their painful past through a comprehensive legally-binding agreement on normalisation of relations and looking towards the European future for their citizens.
The future is more important than the past. The past is important, but we have to look forward. And when we look forward, what we see at the end of the path is the European perspective for Serbia and Kosovo. Whether they finally reach a normalisation of their relations is not up to the European Union to decide, but to them.
At this point, I can only reiterate that the Dialogue has already brought about real benefits for the citizens of Kosovo and Serbia and their everyday life. It is important for both, for Kosovo’s and Serbia’s ambitions to advance in their European agenda, but also for the stability and the economic progress of the entire Western Balkan region.
So I hope that the meeting will be fruitful and that we could take some steps forward on this Dialogue. At the end of the meeting, which is supposed to be lasting maybe a couple of hours or an hour and a half, depending on the mood of the participants, I hope, it is going to be positive. I will do my best in order to enhance the positive aspects of this Dialogue.
At the end of this meeting, the European Union Special Representative, [Miroslav] Lajčák will debrief you.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-209471