Austria has misgivings over Serbia EU bid after clashes
(VIENNA) - Austria's foreign minister expressed "misgivings" Thursday over Serbia's candidacy bid to the European Union, following clashes this week in northern Kosovo that wounded 30 NATO troops.
Austria has so far backed Belgrade's accession to the 27-member bloc.
"Nevertheless, events have taken place that have given us serious misgivings," Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger was cited by the Austria Press Agency shortly before an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.
"For instance, the Serbian media reported it was an attack by KFOR troops on the Serbian population. When you know the facts, you can't even in the broadest sense interpret it this way."
On Monday, some 30 troops from the NATO-led KFOR force in northern Kosovo, including Austrians and Germans, were injured in clashes with Serbs over a roadblock.
Spindelegger called on Serbia to find and prosecute the attackers and urged "all (parties in northern Kosovo) to agree never to let something like this happen again."
"This is the precondition for any step forward," he said in a reference to Serbia's bid to join the EU.
On Wednesday, German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere already warned in Brussels that Serbia was each day "moving further away" from its candidate status goal and urged it to use its influence on troublesome ethnic Serbs to calm tensions.
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