Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Bozidar Djelic said in an interview with the daily Blic that the candidate status for membership in the EU will be the result of a large reform efforts and commitment to cooperation with the ICTY.
Is Serbia guaranteed to get the EU candidate status by the end of the year?
There are no guarantees. The status will be the result of a large reform efforts and commitment to cooperation with the ICTY. Before us is a great battle, but I think we can get the status.
Is it realistic to expect that the date fro starting negotiations is set?
That is a very high level. In the case of Croatia the start of talks was postponed until General Gotovina was located, although Croatia had previously received the candidate status and the date for negotiations. I do not believe that the EU would repeat the same practice, but will, if our achievements are sufficient, determine the exact date or, otherwise, delay the setting of the date for negotiations.
What will candidate status mean for Serbia?
Any discussion with potential investors begins with a question how far we came with European integration. Candidate status is a guarantee for the functioning of institutions, ensuring legal security and economic stability. It also opens Serbia access to funds for agriculture, regional development and human resources. In the case of other countries, this meant an increase of allocations from the European budget by 30%.
Is the agreement with Kosovo a condition for obtaining the date for negotiations?
No. Serbia has proposed opening a dialogue with Pristina to find the solution for the matter of status. We should not quibble. To enter the EU we must find a solution on Kosovo. Compromise between Belgrade and Pristina is in the interest of Europe and the world, because it would eliminate the current division on this very sensitive issue.
Until March, we have fulfilled only part of the goals set by the Action Plan.
The next overview will be made on 10 June at the plenary session of the EU. So, we have about six weeks to do most of the remaining work. The government this week approved the Law on financing political activity, which is consistent with the recommendations of the Venice Commission. There has been a clear agreement on the legal abolition of blank resignations. The next great challenge is the harmonisation of the drafts of the law on public property and the restitution.
Are there problems in implementing the Action Plan?
The problem is not political will, because there is a consensus in society about the necessity of these reforms. European integration is the only idea that gives us the necessary pace. I would not say that there are problems with individual ministries, but surely that some ministries such as ministries of finance, environment, infrastructure and agriculture are the most burdened ones.
Source Serbian Government.