Serbian foreign minister to visit Berlin on Friday

BELGRADE -- Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić will meet with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Friday.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Dačić said on Wednesday that he and Steinmeier would discuss bilateral relations between Serbia and Germany, hold consultations on the coming Serbian chairmanship of the OSCE and talk about the Conference of Western Balkan States taking place in Berlin August 28 that would be attended by the prime ministers and foreign and economy ministers of the region and EU member states.

The event, organized by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy at the initiative of Chancellor Angela Merkel, is aimed at strengthening economic cooperation in the Western Balkans.

The conference topics are regional integration, common European path, regional development projects, particularly in the fields of infrastructure and energy and business cooperation in third markets, Dačić told reporters.

Messages

Ivica Dačić will receive a number of messages from the German government, stressing the importance of convincing Belgrade that it is important to continue with reforms and align the country's legislation with the EU, British analyst James Ker-Lindsay has told the Belgrade-based daily Danas.

According to him, taking into account the bad experiences of Romania and Bulagaria, special attention will be paid to fight against corruption and strengthening of the rule of law, while Germany will "almost certainly once again stress that the process of normalization with Kosovo is a condition for further EU integration."

Ker-Lindsay told the newspaper that another important topic will be Russia, and noted that EU foreign minister recently explicitly said that candidate countries should not use the new trade opportunities opening up for them after the EU introduced sanctions against Russia, and Russia retaliated.

This analyst said he expects German officials to stress that it is unacceptable for Serbia to improve its trade with Russia in light of the new circumstances, and added that the fact Serbia refused to introduce sanctions against Russia was bad in itself, while trying to actively benefit from the current situation would be absolutely unacceptable.

Ahead of a conference on the Western Balkans that will be hosted by Germany, Ker-Lindsay said it seems Berlin is once again trying to make efforts with the goal of EU's enlargement, especially in southeastern Europe, which has gained in significance bearing in mind the tensions with Russia.

He added that most observers think Serbia and Montenegro have the most chance of becoming the next EU member, but that the EU wants to be assured that Serbia is doing everything it can to make progress, and show its loyalty.