European perspective for Serbia
Foreign Minister Westerwelle has visited Serbia. Serbia’s efforts to draw closer to the European Union were among the topics covered at his talks there on 23 February. On 24 February Serbia and Kosovo reached agreement on the modalities of Kosovo’s participation in regional fora.
Foreign Ministers Jeremić (left) and Westerwelle in Belgrade
Serbia is keen to join the EU and submitted the relevant application in December 2009. The upcoming meeting of the EU’s General Affairs Council (GAC) on 28 February will determine how far Serbia has fulfilled the requirements for granting it candidate country status. One of the most important issues in this connection will be relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
On 24 February both sides reached an understanding on outstanding issues. In regional meetings Kosovo will in future be able to speak on its own behalf. Kosovo and Serbia also plan to cooperate on border management. Foreign Minister Westerwelle spoke of a major step in the right direction – “towards greater regional partnership as well as for the European perspectives of both countries”. It was also a success for Europe’s common foreign policy. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle likewise welcomed the agreement.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Serbia's President Tadić (r.)
The day before Foreign Minister Westerwelle had visited Belgrade for talks with Serbian President Tadić and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić. With a view to the upcoming decisions on Serbia’s accession perspective, he had encouraged Serbia to act resolutely to take the remaining steps needed. Following his talks with Jeremić Westerwelle emphasized that “we Germans support a clear European perspective for Serbia.”
The extent of the changes Serbia had introduced was appreciated, he noted. At this stage it was important to encourage the country not to slacken its efforts “on the final straight” prior to the GAC meeting in February. “The goal is in sight and attainable,” the German Foreign Minister pointed out.
On 24 February Westerwelle also talked on the phone to Hashim Thaci, the Republic of Kosovo’s Prime Minister, and congratulated him on the headway made in the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue process. He thanked Thaci for the constructive attitude that had paved the way for the breakthrough in the negotiations in Brussels. Westerwelle assured him that Germany would continue to support the Republic of Kosovo and its efforts to draw closer to the European Union. In this connection Germany would work hard to ensure that Kosovo would not be left behind.
Last updated 24.02.2012