Ruling parties, opposition welcome EU decision

Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac has said that the stance of EU officials is the first concrete proof that Serbia's new status is being respected.

Source: Tanjug

"The statements of European officials, representatives of the EU and its member countries, who support Serbia and do not doubt its European orientation, are the first concrete proof of our new candidate status," Šutanovac said in a written statement for the media.

"The same level of understanding of the process, the same energy and enthusiasm, is needed in Serbia as well, so that our continued European integration process, above all for the sake of internal reforms, could continue successfully," he added.

The defense minister and Democratic Party (DS) deputy leader said the previous period had been very challenging for Serbia, because it had shown that the position of the EU depended on the positions of each of its member countries, which protected their national interest in this manner.

In his opinion, this is an important message to all those who think that EU integration will cause Serbia to lose its national sovereignty.

"On the contrary, EU membership is a guarantee of sovereignty for each of its member countries," Šutanovac pointed out.

"It is also a lesson to us all that we must not only pay attention to meeting EU standards, and it is important to note that this fact and the European Commission's positive opinion on the progress of reforms in Serbia was not questioned by anyone at any point," he noted.

“By getting the EU candidate status Serbia has received a confirmation that it can enter the European family in the foreseeable future but the candidacy should be an incentive for development of the economy and the state,” Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) official Branko Ružić has said.

“By getting candidate status for EU membership, Serbia gains points in the international arena, because it has shown it is a country which fulfills obligations, and it is also a positive signal to investors,” United Regions of Serbia (URS) official Suzana Grubješić said late Thursday.

"The candidacy should not be taken as a lottery win, but as an important step in the whole process, or as point A from which we start moving toward B, which is EU membership," she told Tanjug.

She stressed it was important for Serbia to stay on the European path because this was the only way it could become a decent and orderly country, which mean it needs to carry out all the reforms it has started and has not completed, as well as those it has not started yet.

The URS official said the candidate status certainly won Serbia points in the international arena, because it showed it was a stable country which fulfilled its obligations.

"It is, of course, also a positive signal to investors, who are coming to a country which has candidate status and where the legal environment for their investments is safe," Grubješić said.

She also believes candidacy does not bring any concrete benefits for the people, and its significance is symbolic rather than practical, because it cannot solve the issues of poverty, unemployment, bad economy, enormous regional differences and endemic corruption, but it does give the perspective that these issues will be tackled in the coming period.

Serbian parliament's EU Integration Committee Chairman and Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (SVM) MP Laslo Varga says that Serbia has made a very important step and now has a precondition for all other steps toward the full-fledged membership.

United Serbia (JS) has also welcomed the granting of the EU candidate status, adding that “JS has been one of the links in the chain without which the pro-European government could not have been made”.

Politics

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