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Serbia's candidacy decision on Thursday night

01. March 2012. | 07:34 13:13

Source: Tanjug

European Union leaders will decide about Serbia's candidate status on Thursday night, during a working dinner on the first day of the Council of the EU's session in Brussels, it is said in Council President Herman van Rompuy's invitation to participants of the summit.

European Union leaders will decide about Serbia's candidate status on Thursday night, during a working dinner on the first day of the Council of the EU's session in Brussels, it is said in Council President Herman van Rompuy's invitation to participants of the summit.

In the letter, Rompuy presents the agenda of the summit, which puts the decision on Serbia during the dinner, between a discussion of the situation in the eurozone and a debate on the extension of the Schengen agreement.

EU foreign ministers recommended Tuesday that the Council of the EU grant Serbia candidate status at the upcoming summit on March 1 and 2

Barroso: For EU to decide on Serbia's candidacy

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday that Serbia has fulfilled all conditions for candidacy, but that the final decision rests in the hands of the EU member states.

The Commission stated several months ago that Serbia deserves the candidacy status, but the final decision depends on the member countries, Borroso told a press conference, ahead of Thursday's summit of European leaders in Brussels.

He recalled that in the last two days, he met with Serbian President Boris Tadic and talked over the phone with Romanian President Traian Basescu.

The European Council should decide on Serbia's candidacy on Thursday evening. Romania was the only EU member country that voiced concerns about granting Serbia candidate status at the meeting of the General Affairs Council on Tuesday.

The foreign ministers decided, however, to recommend that the European Council grants Serbia the status of candidate country for EU membership at the March 1-2 summit.

Serbia's future is in EU, says Degert

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert said Wednesday that Serbia's future is in the EU and that a recommendation was given to grant Serbia candidate status for EU membership.

Degert told Pink television that 27 ministers of EU member countries agreed that Serbia has fulfilled everything that was expected of it in order to get candidate status.

He said Serbia was expected to cooperate in the sense of joint border management, inclusive representation of Kosovo, which means both Serbia and Kosovo can take part together at regional meetings and sign agreements which are important
for the region, and the possibility for EULEX and KFOR to operate efficiently.

Degert said there was a debate on the always sensitive issue of minorities, and commented on the position of the Romanian minority in Serbia, expressing satisfaction with the situation in the northern province of Vojvodina.

According to him, representatives of Romania expressed concerns about the right to religion and language of the Romanian minority in eastern Serbia and want to see it improve.

Asked if Serbia's EU path will resemble that of Croatia or of Macedonia, which has been a candidate for membership for seven years without starting accession talks, Degert said he came to Serbia with the task to speed things up as much as possible, adding that Montenegro will start moving fast toward the EU this year and it is important that no time is wasted with Serbia.

As far as the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Degert said a lot of progress has been made in the last two years and agreements reached which improve the daily life of people in Kosovo and that problems need to be solved together.

We want to see that both Serbia and Kosovo have a European future, a European perspective, said Degert. Asked whether as two independent countries, Degert said this is part of the problem which needs to be solved and that it is a process.

Asked when Serbia will join the EU, Degert said accession talks last between three to seven years, depending on Serbia's efficiency.

EP adopts resolution on Serbia's progress

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP) adopted Thursday a draft resolution on Serbia's progress in European integration, which, says the EP Rapporteur for Serbia, sends a positive signal to Belgrade and also to the European Council, which should make a formal decision on granting the candidate status to Serbia today.

The draft resolution, submitted by EP Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin, was adopted by an overwhelming majority of a total of 62 votes “for” and only four “against”, with five abstentions.

I am proud of the broad support and consensus reached by the committee concerning the progress of Serbia, said Kacin. It is clear that Serbia has a great friend in the European Parliament, which now once again sent a positive signal to both Belgrade and the European Council, which now needs to formally adopt the decision to grant the candidate status to Serbia, he added.

Today we also sent a clear message to the representative of Romania at the European Council that they should act constructively and support the candidacy of Serbia, Kacin pointed out.

But we also pointed out that we expect Serbia to spread the level of quality and protection of minorities found in Vojvodina to Central Serbia as well, Kacin said in a statement.

The text of the resolution was revised by verbally submitted amendments and it commends the recent progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

Particularly commended is the agreement on regional cooperation, as well as the progress in the implementation of the agreements reached so far.

Serbia still has a long way to go, during which it will be necessary to establish a genuine rule of law in the country, said the EP rapporteur.

As a candidate country, Serbia needs to approach the job with even greater enthusiasm and ambition as soon as possible and ensure the opening of the negotiations on EU membership, which hopefully will happen early next year, Kacin said.


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