Deputy PM expects EU to be strict, "but not unfair"

BELGRADE -- Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Božidar Đelić said Tuesday the government's strategic goal was to gain the status of a candidate for EU membership.

Beyer and Đelić (Beta)
Beyer and Đelić (Beta)

Another was to be given the start date for the accession negotiations by the end of the year, he said, adding that Serbia expected the EU to be strict, "but not unfair" during the process.

"Serbian government's strategic goal for 2011 is to gain the EU candidate status and the start date for the accession negotiations," he stated after a meeting with a delegation from the German parliament.

Serbia does not want any privileges on that path, but wishes to continue working with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, make a positive contribution in the talks with Priština and complete the Action Plan, he stressed.

"In return, we expect the EU to be strict, but not unfair, and not to impose any new requirements on the Serbian people," Đelić remarked.

Head of the German delegation Peter Beyer said that Serbia is a key country in the Western Balkans and that "good relations between neighbors in the region are crucial".

"Germany's interest is for Serbia to move closer to the EU in a good and fast way," added he.

The German official also stated he expected the next round of talks between Belgrade and Pristina, set for July 2, "to result in significant progress".