Barroso meets with Cvetković in Belgrade

BELGRADE -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who is heading an EU delegation on a visit to Belgrade, met Thursday with Serbian PM Mirko Cvetković.

Barroso and Cvetković in Belgrade today (Beta)
Barroso and Cvetković in Belgrade today (Beta)

Besides the EC president, the EU delegation from Brussels includes EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule and Miroslav Lajčak, the managing director for Russia, Eastern Neighborhood and Western Balkans in the team of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton.

Serbian ministers are also taking part in the meeting with EU officials.

Spokesman for the EC president Michael Karnitschnig told Tanjug that in Belgrade, Barroso will reaffirm that Serbia's future is in the EU, but also underline that Serbia holds the key to its own progress and needs to work more on economic and political reforms.

Ahead of the meeting, media reports said that it was expected that the EU officials would demand from the Serbian authorities to additionally speed up the reforms that demand a more fierce combat against crime, solving of the false asylum seekers issue which is jeopardizing Serbia’s visa liberalization.

According to announcements, the Serbian government representatives prepared a proposal that should solve the burning issue – the abuse of visa liberalization.

Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Božidar Đelić expects that the proposal will be approved. Interior Minister Ivica Dačić has announced increased control, stressing that there would be no violation of human rights of those ethnic communities the most asylum seekers belong to.

Ahead of his visit to Belgrade Fule told B92 that Serbia should finish the most of the work by June because Brussels would start evaluating whether Serbia should get the EU candidate status during the summer break.

Aside from reforms and Hague Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz's positive report, Barroso and Fule will demand concrete results in negotiations with Priština, which could become one of the conditions for the positive assessment.