EU enlargement commissioner, Serbian president on Belgrade's EU path
European Union Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said in Belgrade on Monday, after talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, that progress considering Kosovo was the most important factor in Serbia's further steps towards EU membership, as well as the continuation of reforms, promotion of Serbia's relations with its neighbours and stability in the region.
Fuele told the press that now, given that Serbia was an EU candidate country, the next logical step was launching entry talks with the EU, adding that visible and sustainable progress in relations with Kosovo was a priority for Serbia on that path.
Asked to comment on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mentioning of abolishment of parallel institution in northern Kosovo, the area predominantly inhabited by Serbs, and if that was a condition for launching the entry talks, Fuele said one of the conditions the EU insisted on referred to parallel structures in Kosovo's north.
He added that Serbia was expected to continue reforms launched in the European integration processes, notably in the judiciary, the fight against corruption, the protection of civil rights and business climate and to play an important role in the process of reconciliation in the region and regional cooperation.
The commissioner also underlined the importance of forming a new government in Serbia as soon as possible so as to increase the possibility for Belgrade to launch the EU entry negotiations by the end of this year.
The sooner the government is formed, the sooner you start working and producing results, the faster that ambition will become a reality, Fuele said.
President Nikolic said he and the EU commissioner talked about the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina which are expected to lead to the solution of the Kosovo problem, adding that there was no mention of Kosovo's status, but of ways to secure peace and security, economic recovery and prosperity for all Kosovo citizens and to have the Kosovo issue resolved through negotiations at the same time, in a way acceptable to both sides.
Nikolic said he and Fuele also talked about Serbia's current and future steps on the path to the EU, as well as about Nikolic's coming visit to Brussels where he is expected to hold talks with EU leaders.