April turning point for Serbia, EC rep says

BELGRADE -- European Commission's Director General for Enlargement Stefano Sanino says Serbia is in the center of the EU’s attention and that April will be a turning point.

Stefano Sanino (Beta)
Stefano Sanino (Beta)

“It is important to make a tangible progress by April because possible last moment agreement could cause doubts among EU member states. April is a turning point for Serbia,” he stressed.

Sanino told a press conference in Belgrade that the EU was waiting for a new round of the Belgrade and Priština representatives in the beginning of March and expressed hope that it would be a clear sign that a “page has been turned”.

“We expect a new round of the dialogue in early March that will hopefully give a clear signal that progress has become visible,” he added.

Commenting on the EU enlargement, Sanino said that “all eyes are on Serbia” at the moment and on a possibility to start the EU accession talks with Serbia this year.

He pointed out that a formal decision would be made in June but that a condition would be the EC’s report on Serbia’s progress that would be released in April.

Sanino also pointed to the significance of progress in other areas, such as reforms of the public administration and judiciary and combat against organized crime.

Vincent Degert (Beta)
Vincent Degert (Beta)

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert has assessed that Serbia has made significant progress on the EU pathway but stressed that the decision on the EU talks date will be made based on the progress made in the Belgrade-Priština dialogue and reforms and warned that there is not much time left.

“It is clear that Serbia has made progress and we want to see the continuation of steps in the right directions. Not everything can be solved over night but it is important that we get an impression that things are on the right track and that progress is made by April 16,” Degert noted.

He said that EU member states would make a decision on the date on June 28.