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Serbia urges EU to set a starting date for accession talks

23.01.2013 - 15:16

Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister for European integration, Suzana Grubjesic appeared yesterday before the Foreign Affairs Committee of MEPs and stated that there is no alternative to dialogue and pragmatic cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo. In addition, she urged for the establishment of a starting date for EU accession talks.

Ms Grubjesic stated that Serbia needs to get a starting date for EU accession talks possibly in the next six months in order to "maintain the momentum of reforms in Serbia and make the process of EU integration irreversible." Moreover, she highlighted that the new government that was formed in May 2012 is making great efforts to implement the reforms that were recommended by the European Commission's progress report.

MEPs have acknowledged Serbia’s significant progress, strong commitment to reform and willingness to promote dialogue with Kosovo. However, they underlined that the country has to take further measures as to fight corruption and promote the better protection of LGBT persons and other vulnerable groups.

Jelko Kacin (ALDE, SI), Parliament's rapporteur on Serbia, said the government's approach to fighting corruption is "a bizarre story", and stressed that the media were too much involved in the investigation results. In addition, Ana Gomes (S&D, PT) underlined that Serbia has to address the lack of transparency of media ownership.

Regarding the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia in order to solve their issues, Ms Grubjesic said that a meeting will soon take place but the date has not been set yet. Solving their territorial dispute is a pre-condition for both countries in order to start official accession negotiations with the EU.

Serbia was granted EU candidate status on 1 March 2012.