Thursday, September 27, 2012

Serbia wants date for EU talks “as soon as possible”

BELGRADE -- Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has stated that Serbia wants to get a date for the beginning of the EU accession talks in December.
Ivica Dačić
Ivica Dačić
He added, however, that it was not important when the date would be set.
“The most important thing is not which month we will get a date for the start of the talks but to know what we need to do and that the process we started will lead to the negotiations, so it is not essentially important whether it would be in December or in the first half of next year,” the PM said after a meeting with a head of the European Parliament delegation for southeast Europe.

According to him, Serbia is ready to start the EU accession talks and it expects it to be very soon and that the hard work thus far would end with a start of a new phase of the EU integration process.

Dačić explained that that Serbia was ready to fully cooperate with the EP and other European institutions, to harmonize its judiciary with the EU’s and to create an atmosphere that would guarantee that the process would end with the country’s EU accession.

The prime minister noted that he had informed MEPs about the political and economic situation and goals of the new government, including a key national priority – the EU membership. He added that the current government would continue to fulfill all the necessary criteria, including the Copenhagen criteria, internal reforms and the continuation of the dialogue with Priština.

“Format of dialogue still unknown”

When it comes to the continuation of the negotiations with Priština, Dačić said that a format of a political dialogue still had not been determined, adding that topics were unknown as well.

He told a press conference after talks with head of the European Parliament (EP) Delegation for Southeast Europe Eduard Kukan that one thing was certain – that Serbia would not in any way recognize Kosovo’s independence by participating in the negotiations.

“It is certain that if we want the real dialogue, we need to talk and open some issues. It is not so important here whether the president, prime minister or anyone else from the Serbian government will participate, the important thing is that the talks should not pressure Serbia into recognizing Kosovo and we do not want to be a part of it,” the prime minister explained.

According to him, not even the EU negotiators have a clear vision about the format of the dialogue.

Dačić said that he did not expect the talks to be between individuals but between delegations but that he would talk about it in detail with President Tomislav Nikolić after he has returned from New York.

“It is certain that every abuse of the talks will be avoided, meaning that nobody will be able to interpret it as the recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Anyway, I have already been at the same table with (Kosovo PM Hashim) Thaci at the UN Security Council and that was not a recognition of the independence,” he pointed out when asked whether he was ready to talk to Thaci.

The Serbian PM believes that the EU has not defined the topics of the future dialogue because “it is more important for Brussels at the moment to sit down and talk then what will be discussed” which in his opinion is not the best solution.

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