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Serbia to begin formal negotiations for EU membership in spring 2012- hopes Djelic

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Serbia`s Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Bozidar Djelic stated on Friday that there will be no new conditions on Serbia’s road towards the EU and expressed hope that our country will begin formal negotiations for EU membership in spring next year.

Djelic told reporters at the Palace of Serbia, after a meeting of the Enhanced Permanent Dialogue between Serbia and the EU which was attended by Director for Western Balkans at the Directorate-General for Enlargement Pierre Mirel, that he expects that on 9 December consensus will be reached among EU member states that Serbia should become an EU candidate country and that the date for negotiations will be set.

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Serbia is aware that, although the arrest of ICTY indictee Ratko Mladic is an important moment for the European integration of our country, it is not sufficient to obtain the candidate status and the date of commencement of accession negotiations, he observed.

I hope that the negotiations will begin formally in spring 2012, Djelic said and added that Serbia will carry on with cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and implementation of reforms.

Speaking about laws that should be adopted in this process, he specified that a draft law on restitution has been made, consultations with political parties are underway and a public discussion on the subject will be held in the summer. This law should be adopted by the Serbian parliament as early as autumn.

The Deputy Prime Minister recalled that Serbia adopted the Law on election of people’s deputies and added that a law on financing political activities, which is currently discussed in the parliament, will be adopted soon too. The law on public property is to be adopted as well.

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Mirel said that Serbia has made great progress towards the EU and underlined that there will be no new conditions to Serbia for its further progress in the European integration process.

Mirel highlighted that conditions for European integration are well known and that the European Commission’s opinion is based on level of fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria.

The main question is whether Serbia has made enough progress in the application of the Copenhagen criteria, which would enable its accession to the EU, he said, adding that this includes regional cooperation.

Mirel said that he expects that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina will lead to concrete results.

This was an annual plenary meeting and there has been a positive development since the last meeting, he noted, adding that bilateral ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is going well.

We have always pointed out that the SAA will be an important new framework for investors, and looking at the data on the trade balance of Serbia which show that exports grew by 32% and imports by 8%, I think it is a good message, Mirel pointed out.

In his opinion, positive developments were also influenced by the adoption of Joint Resolution of Serbia and the EU, voted in the UN, on initiating a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, the preparation of opinion of the EU Council on Serbia’s application for EU membership, as well as the arrest of ICTY indictee Ratko Mladic, by which Serbia has fulfilled a very important international obligation.



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