Following a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dačić on Tuesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó declared that Hungary will oppose the entry of Kosovo into the Council of Europe until such time as the autonomous province settles its political disputes with Serbia.
Szijjártó said that “if various European organizations rush to admit Kosovo,” a meaningful, peaceful settlement will not be achieved. He added that dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is necessary to achieve this and that admitting Kosovo at this time would prevent that from happening.
Speaking at the joint press conference, Ivica Dačić reiterated the position of the Serbian government, which categorically opposes both inviting Kosovo to organizations like the Council of Europe and recognizing the independence of the autonomous province. The Serbian Foreign Minister declared that the authorities in Prishtina must first implement all the agreements previously signed with the Serbian government.
“We cannot recognize Kosovo’s independence,” Dačić explained, “because we have had no political talks on this problem of bilateral relations and their establishment. We have had no dialogue about how we can find a political solution.” He also emphasized the necessity that the authorities in the autonomous province must provide security guarantees to Serbs living in Kosovo.
The Serbian Foreign Minister also called out the West’s double standard with regard to the concept of territorial integrity. “It is either the principle of territorial integrity or not,” Dačić declared. “One cannot be in favor of it in one case and then say differently in another.”
Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija unilaterally proclaimed independence in February 2008, a move recognized by the United Nations Court of Justice in 2010. Despite this, more than half of UN member nations, including Russia, China, and India, do not recognize Kosovo’s independence. Whereas membership in the Council of Europe would require unanimous consent of the existing members, Hungary’s opposition means that Kosovo will be unable to join the Council of Europe.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister also said that his country and Serbia enjoy excellent relations and that they must work together to respond to the challenges presented by the conflict in Ukraine and the migrant crisis. “The prolongation of the war or its escalation is a very serious threat to our countries and our peoples,” Szijjártó explained, “because neither the Hungarians nor the Serbs are responsible for that war, yet both nations are paying the price of that conflict.”