President: EU should give Serbia chance

BELGRADE -- President Tomislav Nikolić is convinced that Germany and then the European Council will give Serbia and its people "a historic opportunity" on June 28.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

"We will no longer stand on the sidelines," Nikolić said in a statement for the public issued on Tuesday, ahead of the EU's decision on the start of Serbia's accession talks.

The president said Serbia expects Germany to show with its decision that it fully supports reconciliation, peace, and stability in the region, adding he believes right and justice will prevail on June 28.

Nikolić said Serbia deserves a date and "will not settle for a pat on the back."

"We are asking them to give us a chance to live and survive. If they do not leave us this option, if they face us with the choice of taking the more difficult route, we will have no alternative and we will continue to press forward proudly. It will take more time, more strength and sacrifice, but as always throughout history, justice and truth are on our side and we will prevail," said the president.

Nikolić says that if the date decision sends Serbia a message that "there is no justice, truth, morality, but only interest," its answer will be clear:

"We are moving on and you can come back. And do not be late," said the president.

According to Nikolić, the EU has a historic responsibility for the successful development of the Balkans and Serbia expects all EU member states to show unequivocal support for peace and stability in the region.

He said Europe has a great ally in Serbia when it comes to this idea, stressing that Serbia is strongly committed to stabilization of the Balkans and has made decisions which will make lasting peace possible.

"They say everything is now in the hands of the most influential member state, Germany. I suppose it is difficult to shoulder that kind of responsibility. It was not easy for us either to meet the demands under the most difficult possible circumstances. This is why we now expect Germany to show with its decision that it unequivocally supports reconciliation, peace and stability in the region and can appreciate others' efforts to the same end," said the president.

Nikolić said Serbia has dedicated more than a decade to stabilization of the region, especially over the past year when more was done to advance relations and develop democracy than anyone could have expected.

"We are hearing commendations from across the world every day for Serbia's decisiveness and determination to solve burning issues of crucial importance for the entire Balkans and all of Europe," said Nikolić.

Serbia has done everything to be part of the European family and knows the world is aware of this, he added.

"If anyone wants Serbia to sink into the mud, they should know that there is justice, which is the foundation of every system, including that of the EU. Equality, justice and truth are the foundation of the philosophies of great minds, among whom are many Germans," said the president.

Nikolić said the world may in great part be based on interest, but events often occur which make us believe there is something greater.

Serbia has received assurances in bilateral talks with representatives of European and world countries that it deserves to get a date for the start of accession talks, he said.

Most of them said it directly to us, while some expressed the opinion in international organizations and forums, he added.

"I am convinced that right and justice will prevail on June 28. That the EU will offer Serbia and the Serbian people a historic opportunity to live with dignity as part of the European family. We will no longer stand on the sidelines as observers of our own life. We are determined to take our fate into our own hands and move forward," said the Serbian president.