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EU, Kosovo Hold Tense Meeting In Brussels


Kosovo's Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj (right) and Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli attend the meeting in Brussels on December 17.

BRUSSELS -- A meeting between senior Kosovar and EU officials has ended in acrimony over tariffs imposed by Pristina on imports from Serbia and the bloc's delays to enact visa-free travel for Kosovars.

The annual meeting of the EU-Kosovo Stabilization and Association Council, held in Brussels on December 17, ended without a joint press conference.

A source who attended the meeting told RFE/RL that the Kosovar delegation expressed frustration that the EU hadn't granted the country's citizens the right to enter the EU without a visa.

Kosovo is the only Western Balkan country whose citizens still need a visa to travel to the bloc.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the office of EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc "deeply regretted" Kosovo's decision last month to slap a 100 percent tax on Serbian products.

The tariff "damages the economic interests of Kosovo and its people, reducing trade flows and diminishing Kosovo's attractiveness as a place for investment and business," it pointed out.

The EU statement stressed the importance of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

Relations between Pristina and Belgrade have been tense since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Although more than 110 countries recognize Kosovo, Serbia does not.

Both Kosovo and Serbia have been told they must resolve their differences in order to make progress toward EU membership, but EU-sponsored normalization talks have been stop-and-go in recent months.

Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj told reporters in Brussels that Pristina was "interested in having a comprehensive agreement between Kosovo and Serbia."

"We do not have time anymore for halfway solutions," Haradinaj added.

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