Serbia’s candidate status for the European Union will increase the bloc’s financial support to Serbia by 30% or €70 million per year.
Besides, it will also open the remaining three parts of the European budget agriculture, regional development and human capital which Serbia can have access now.
The announcement was made by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic in an interview with the Ekonomist magazine.
The candidate status for EU will also invite Serbia without the right to vote, to almost all European forums, which will increase its influence within the EU.
The minister said although there is no guarantee that the country will gain candidate status for EU membership within this year but all efforts would be taken to achieve that goal.
Besides candidates status, Serbia is also aiming to get a set date for starting negotiations at the December Summit of EU leaders, stressed Djelic.
He said that setting a date for starting negotiations will largely depend on the arrest of two remaining indictees wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the next two reports of ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz in June and December.
Serbian representatives made it clear to European partners that the upcoming dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina should not be taken as a condition for European integration of our country.
He reiterated that it is necessary to find a solution for Kosovo-Metohija for Serbia to enter the EU because the EU will not allow membership to a country that has not fully resolved the issue of its sovereignty and borders.
European path is therefore a strong incentive for both Belgrade and Pristina to reach compromise, he noted.
Following a meeting with his Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger in Vienna, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic said that Austria’s support to Serbia’s EU integration is beyond any dispute.
Belgrade and Vienna will continue their close cooperation in this process, as well as in regional issues and the realisation of the Danube Strategy, Jeremic added..