Macron to Visit Serbia After Paris Summit Cancelled

Ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Serbia on July 15-16, media have been speculating whether Kosovo might be the most important issue on the agenda.

Among the topics that will be discussed will be political and economic cooperation, the country's EU perspective and Kosovo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's office announced on Monday.

"Macron is one of the two biggest European leaders to whom the future belongs and who will win in yet another election in France. I think his role is growing, he is a hard-working, energetic man, not always easy to talk with," Vucic told Serbian public broadcaster RTS on Monday.

Vucic also announced that during the visit, 20 interstate agreements will be signed.

But Macron's visit also comes after the cancellation of a summit in Paris scheduled for July 1 that was intended to address the stalemate in the EU-mediated talks between Belgrade and Pristina to normalise relations, which have been deadlocked since Kosovo imposed 100 per cent import tariffs on Serbian goods last year.

Another issue for Serbia might be Macron's hard line on potential new EU members from the Western Balkans.

Macron made clear in Sofia in May 2018, and then again by blocking the opening of accession negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia in June 2018, that he was against any move towards enlargement on the grounds that the EU needed to reform before accepting any new member.

Loic Tregoures of the Catholic Institute of Paris urged caution about suggestions that Macron could bring some new initiative to restart the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

Tregoures told BIRN that "the withdrawal of the Paris summit last July 1st shows evidence of the deadlock and the absence of constructive initiatives...

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