Deputy PM: EU remains Serbia’s main goal

WASHINGTON -- Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić has said in Washington that the EU accession remains the main goal of the Serbian authorities.

Aleksandar Vučić is seen during the lecture (Tanjug)
Aleksandar Vučić is seen during the lecture (Tanjug)

He stressed that the new government would, unlike the previous one, implement everything it agreed regarding Kosovo.

At the start of his two-day visit to Washington, Vučić held a lecture at the U.S. Congress on Thursday regarding Serbia's EU integration.

The briefing was attended by U.S. Senator from New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen, who is also the chair of the Europe Subcommittee, congressman from Indiana Dan Burton, and chiefs of staff of almost all congressmen who are the members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, with around twenty ambassadors, including Serbian Ambassador Vladimir Petrović.

The deputy PM stressed that the Serbian government would do everything to get a date for the beginning of the EU accession talks in March or June 2013 and that it expected a very positive report of the European Commission (EC) in December.

“Such report would ease tensions in Serbia and help us overcome the obstacles that lie ahead,” Vučić noted, adding that he was aware that EU popularity in Serbia was currently at its lowest point.

“Nevertheless, our goal has not changed and the EU remains one of our top priorities. Of course, we are aware that at the same time we have to improve the daily life of our people,” he noted.

The deputy prime minister also announced the adoption of new laws in Serbia, which would make it easier to invest and do business in the country and help create better business environment.

He also said that combat against corruption and organized crime was underway.

In his hour and a half briefing, Vučić also addressed the issue of Kosovo, underlining that no Serbian government would recognize Kosovo and that the current government was ready to negotiate with Priština.

He said he had no illusion that northern Kosovo Serbs supported the agreement on the integrated management for crossing points.

"I know that 100 percent of the Serbs are against it and I do not refer to two percent of criminals or smugglers, but to the people who live there. I will be honest, it is not easy to implement what has already been agreed, but, unlike our predecessors, what we say we will do. That is the difference between us and them," Vučić said, stressing that there would not be any recognition of Kosovo.

He told Tanjug it was obvious that, in the talks he was having in Washington, many things were being opened and seen in a better way than it was the case before.

"We have to work much more, because we do not have any lobby groups like all others from the region, in order for us to at least manage to equalize in what others have done so far," the first deputy prime minister concluded.