Supporting Serbia on its path towards the EU
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has held talks in Berlin with Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vučić, and the country’s Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, Suzana Grubješić. The talks centred on Serbia’s European prospects and progress in the political dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.
Vučić, Westerwelle und Grubješić (from left to right)
© photothek / Grabowsky
After the meeting Westerwelle said, “We want to support Serbia on its path towards the European Union.” Since March 2012, the country has been a candidate for accession, but accession negotiations have not yet been opened. Westerwelle stated that the enlargement process was tied to conditions applicable to all candidate countries, adding that the countries of Europe had determined what progress Serbia had to make for accession negotiations to be opened. “We know that this is about fairness and reliability. That is true for all sides. (...) There will be no compromises on the criteria, but neither will there be additional hurdles. We will hold these talks in a spirit of fair partnership.”
Vučić asserted that his country would undertake further reforms, going on to say that the country wanted to be a reliable partner for Germany and the European Union and that it would continue on its path towards Europe, doing all it could to see Serbia move forward, modernize and fulfil its obligations.
Support for Serbia’s political dialogue with Kosovo
German-Serbian Talks in Berlin
© picture alliance / dpa
The key criterion for opening accession negotiations is progress in normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo. Since October 2012, the countries have been conducting a political dialogue. Westerwelle said: “Germany strongly supports the political dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.” Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, acts as mediator in the dialogue.
Germany, he went on, wanted to see the dialogue produce “concrete results”, adding that “the goal remains visible and sustainable progress in normalizing relations with Kosovo”. “Cooperation”, said the German Foreign Minister, “was guiding principle of the European Union”. He encouraged “all sides to take the spirit of cooperation as a benchmark”. At the same time, he conceded that “reconciliation is a long process”.
In addition to the meeting with Foreign Minister Westerwelle, talks will also be held with Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière and members of the German Bundestag.
In 2005, Serbia applied for EU membership. In spring 2013, Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is to present a report on the state of the process of normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo. A positive assessment by the Council of the European Union would be a prerequisite for further steps towards opening accession negotiations.
Last updated 20.02.2013