"New dimension of Serbia-EU relations"

BELGRADE -- The EU and Serbia have entered a new dimension of relations after Serbia's candidacy application was forwarded to the European Commission (EC).

Jean Asselborn (FoNet, file)
Jean Asselborn (FoNet, file)

This is according to Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

"Serbia is a great country with great people. I have always claimed that there will be no stability in the Balkans without Serbia," Asselborn stated for the Belgrade-based daily Večernje Novosti.

Asselborn said that Serbia should now prove to be the master of its fate, capable of fulfilling the set preconditions and carrying out the necessary reforms. Moreover, it should also endeavor to find a solution together with Kosovo.

At the moment, it is crucial to create conditions for Priština and Belgrade to negotiate without a mediator, he said.

Asselborn underlined that recognition of Kosovo is not a precondition for Serbia's EU membership, but added that it is logical that a solution has to be found.

"Now we have entered a new dimension. However, we should be patient because it will take some time before the results appear. If we manage to integrate all Balkan countries into the EU by 2020, we will be able to say that we have worked well. We should go step-by-step," he said.