At a joint press conference with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Juncker’s visit to Belgrade was an act of encouragement of Serbia’s efforts to join the EU.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic pointed out that Serbia welcomes the enlargement strategy presented by the European Commission this month, as it gives an incentive to work faster on the country and society reforms.
At a joint press conference following the meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Vucic said that his visit to Belgrade is a significant incentive for us to continue reforms in the process of EU accession, to continue to change ourselves, so that we can be part of the society we want to belong to.
Vucic also said that when he had asked for the Commission to give Serbia an indicative accession date in order to boost the optimism about the country’s future, he knew it would not be easy to get.
“That’s why I don’t claim that 2025 is the year of guaranteed accession, but the year in which we could join the EU providing that we finish everything we have to finish”, Vucic added.
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said, in a joint address with the Serbian President, that the Western Balkan Enlargement Strategy encompasses six areas which Serbia should work on its road to the EU.
He added that Serbia is on the right path, but that the EU cannot accept any new members with unresolved territorial issues. “Serbia has already covered an impressive part of the (EU) path,” Juncker said, before adding that a number of problems “still have to be solved.” He singled out the need for judicial reforms and improvements in the rule of law before Serbia and others can join the EU.
Juncker said the EU is seeking a “legally-binding” agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, but that the scope of the deal is up to the two nations. The EU is helping out in the talks on normalizing ties between the two.
Juncker is visiting Serbia as part of a tour of the Western Balkans nations aspiring to join the bloc at a time Russia is looking to bolster its influence in the region, particularly in Serbia.
The visit comes after the EU drafted a new expansion strategy that envisages Serbia and Montenegro could be the next to join the bloc in 2025.
(Vecernje Novosti, Associated Press, The Washington Post, 26.02.2018)
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