« Germany’s Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, has voiced concerns on behalf of the European Union that the tensions between Serbia and Kosovo are endangering the Berlin Process.
« Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo endanger the Berlin Process and this is why I had a strong call, together with the European partners and together with our American friends to underline that they have to be reducing troops from Serbia, which we have seen lately, » said Baerbock.
Baerbock made these statements during her presence in Tirana, Albania, where she was attending a foreign ministers’ meeting in preparation for the upcoming October 16 summit on the Berlin Process.
This initiative, spearheaded by Germany and France, aims to encourage six Western Balkans countries — Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia — to progress toward membership in the European Union.
Baerbock stressed the importance of reducing tensions, calling for a withdrawal of troops from Serbia, while also discussing a stronger commitment from NATO, particularly in the form of the KFOR presence in the region.
« We have, together with the NATO states, decided that we will look into the KFOR presence and strengthen our own presence here, » added Baerbock.
In light of the escalating tensions in Kosovo, Baerbock underscored the urgency of accelerating the European integration process for Western Balkan states. She expressed the federal government’s commitment to this cause, particularly in the context of international consultations held in Tirana.
The recent incident on September 24 saw around 30 heavily armed Serb individuals initially kill a Kosovar police officer and subsequently establish barricades in northern Kosovo, leading to an extended gunfight with Kosovo police.
Earlier, Kosovo accused Serbia of orchestrating the ‘act of aggression,’ a claim Belgrade vehemently denies, asserting that the gunmen acted independently. Meanwhile, Major General Angelo Michele Ristuccia, the commander of the NATO-led peacekeeping force, called on both Kosovo and Serbia to return to the negotiation table to prevent further violence.
The Western Balkan countries are at varying stages of integration into the European Union. Croatia, another Western Balkan nation, became the EU’s newest member in 2013, but progress for the remaining countries has encountered obstacles, with no clear timeline for EU membership.
The Berlin Process began in 2014 as a collaborative effort between governments to encourage the future expansion of the European Union. The initiative facilitates close cooperation between officials from the Western Balkan Six and host countries and also involves EU institutions, international financial organisations, civil society, youth, and businesses, according to the official website. »