German envoy "fairly certain" there are no new conditions
German Ambassador Heinz Wilhelm says it would be a good move if PM Aleksandar Vucic went to Srebrenica, especially because of reconciliation in the region.Source: B92
"I think it's a positive gesture. All peoples here have to be willing to accept responsibility and guilt. Germany took the blame after the Second World War. Simply, we must accept history," Wilhelm, who is leaving his post in Belgrade after thee years, told B92 in an interview.
Speaking about the upcoming visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the diplomat said he was "fairly certain that there would be new conditions" for Serbia.
"It is good that she is coming, she would not if she did not think that the country is progressing. I do not believe there will be new conditions, the condition is clear - implementation of the Brussels agreement and then the opening of (EU membership negotiations) chapters," said Wilhelm.
Asked "whether Kosovo is a condition for Serbia's entry into the European Union," Wilhelm said that "normalization of relations" between Belgrade and Pristina was of key importance.
"Without it there is no opening of chapter 35, and then no closing, either. Therefore, no progress," said Wilhelm.
In recent weeks some German politicians have called for the visa regime for Serbian citizens to be restored because of a large number of fake asylum seekers who seek refuge in the European Union.
"We have been hearing this for a long time, but it is unimaginable. You cannot have accession negotiations with a country and at the same time reimpose visas. It is inconceivable," said he.
Speaking about the country he is about to leave, the ambassador said the situation is now "much better" compared to when he arrived here three years ago, and added:
"Positive changes are visible, negotiations have begun which is a historical step forward. The (Kosovo) dialogue, the Brussels agreement... I think Serbia is now a constructive player in the region. You have worked a lot to improve relations among the former Yugoslav states. The Albanian prime minister was in Belgrade, and the Serbian in Tirana, which is also very important," said Wilhelm.
According to him, the Serbian government has implemented "good reforms" - but the economy has not started to grow.
"I hope for the arrival of foreign investors, but also for people starting their own businesses. The constant drain of young brains from Serbia is sad," said the German ambassador.
Wilhelm also observed that he would remember "the people and the hospitality" he encountered in Serbia, and concluded:
"Although you do not have a lot of money you really know how to enjoy life. It seems to me I like your drinks more than your food. The food is sometimes too strong. I like (plum) brandy very much, Serbian wines are also very good. I will certainly be coming back to Serbia."