Nikolić: We have no other than European familySource: Tanjug
BRATISLAVA -- President Tomislav Nikolić called on the participants at the Central Europe Summit in Bratislava on Thursday to back Serbia's EU aspirations.
They include the granting of a date for the country's EU accession talks, said reports.
At the same time, the Serbian president, who arrived in Slovakia on Thursday, called for a careful consideration of the consequences which a negative stand of Brussels could entail for all processes which Serbia launched with great enthusiasm.
The support which I ask of you on this occasion is at the same time the support to our joint future, Nikolić said and added that Serbia belongs in Europe. We have no other family than the European family of peoples, he noted.
He also called for maximum constructiveness by all sides involved in the search for a solution to the Kosovo issue.
"From this place, I call on all relevant stakeholders looking for an answer to the Kosovo-Metohija issue to show maximum constructiveness in the search for a lasting and sustainable solution which would make it possible for all of us to focus on the topics such as economic development and improvement of the living standard for all our citizens," Nikolić said.
According to him, if everyone did as much as Serbia has done and bear in mind that the reality and a good solution could entail a slight dissatisfaction for all parties involved, then there would be good news for both sides.
Serbia does not even think about bad news any more, Nikolić said.
According to him, the EU will not be complete in political, economic and cultural terms until Serbia and other Balkan countries are fully integrated into the bloc.
"This is also the stand which I had a chance to hear on numerous occasions from European and world top officials," the president said and added that it is high time this was translated into the decision of the European Council later this month.
Noting that in addition to the economic difficulties, Serbia faced the political problem of unilaterally declared independence in the territory of its autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija, Nikolić said that the country decided to invest maximum efforts in the search for a lasting and sustainable solution as it is aware that the problem needs to be resolved so as to achieve full regional stability in the best interest of citizens in the area, regardless of their confession and nationality.
"At the time when many do not take heed of their obligations which they took on in international organisations, Serbia is resolving its internal problem within the framework of the international law alone," he said.
Nikolić said that in order to achieve this, the Serbian government and he himself engaged all their capacities and used their reputation among Serbian citizens, and this resulted in the first agreement on the principles of normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Priština and the authorities are currently constructively working on its implementation.
"I do not even need to say how hard it was to reach such an agreement and how difficult it would be to implement it," Nikolić said.
He noted that throughout the process, Serbia derived encouragement from the idea of a joint European future for the entire region and the need for all citizens to feel secure and have a chance at a better future regardless how important it would be for Serbia to get the date for the EU accession talks later this month.
Noting that the meeting is a chance to engage in open talks with presidents of other countries on fostering cooperation and addressing challenges of the future functioning of the EU which Serbia would join in the foreseeable future, Nikolić said that Serbia has carried out reforms in which it invested all its resources so as to achieve the required standards, and added that the country will continue to do so.
"In the past year, we have come a long way on this path, Nikolić said and noted that the reforms are being taken seriously. We are seriously discussing suggestions and propositions coming from Brussels and we are trying to adopt all that is necessary and that contributes to improvement in our society," Nikolić stated.
Noting that although it is not a member of the EU, Serbia also feels the economic and financial crisis the EU is going through, Nikolić said that over the past two decades, Serbia's economy had undergone a process of systematic destruction, economic sanctions, wars, poorly carried out privatisations, wandering without an adequate strategy and facing a constant lack of its own development funds.
In such circumstances, Serbia was forced to focus primarily on ways to attract foreign investments with a view to kick-starting economic activity as the country has natural resources, experts, highly-qualified workforce and certain advantages in terms of its geography.
According to the president, Europe is Serbia's biggest and most important economic partner, and this makes the country rather exposed and sensitive to economic and financial oscillations and tendencies the EU is facing now.
He noted that Serbia is achieving exceptional results in terms of regional cooperation as well, and will not stop until it creates an oasis of peace and cooperation in the Balkans. This is Serbia's past and future, Nikolić said.
Admitting that Serbia failed to alleviate the consequences of the economic crisis it suffered, Nikolić pointed out that the meeting is a chance to learn new ideas and propositions as to the ways to improve the life of Serbia's citizens and send a message on a political level to businessmen and the major system of the EU.
"I want to underscore once more that Serbia's EU accession would considerably enhance political, economic and general social activities in the region," Nikolić said.
"Serbia will try to contribute to the common goal through a well-regulated market, an efficient legal system and openness for cooperation in all domains," he said and expressed certainty that the prerequisite for achieving economic prosperity is in fact embodied in achieving political stability.