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“Kosovo [first], then Europe,” sums up Danasin its coverage of the meeting between Angela Merkel and Boris Tadic in Belgrade on August 23. The German Chancellor reminded the Serbian president that Serbia’s accession to the EU is conditional on tangible progress in the dialogue with Pristina, as well as on dismantling of parallel Serbian state structures in the Serbian former province and putting an end to the obstruction of the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX). “The policy of the ultimatum, to say Kosovo or Europe,” Tadic countered, “does not comply with European values”, and recalled that “dialogue with Pristina is the priority of Serbian policy.”

Another Serbian newspaper, Blic, emphasises that Belgrade had not expected such a tough line from the German Chancellor and asks whether the government or the international community has not deceived the Serbian people by telling them “that Kosovo and the EU were two separate issues – that is, EU membership has nothing to do with the loss of Kosovo.”

In Germany, the Frankfurter Rundschau reports that “when it comes to membership issues, the Balkans, if one is to believe the European Commission, are ‘on the right track’. Each step ahead is acclaimed with stiff solemnity.” But “those who lived under communism feel instinctively that it is not the formal announcements that count, but progress on the basic issues. No wonder there are anxious fears afoot in the Balkans: 'Do they really want us in? And what will it cost?”