"Serbia's goal is EU membership by 2020"

BELGRADE -- Serbian Parliament Speaker Nebojsa Stefanović says that the country's goal is "to join the EU by 2020."

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Stefanović spoke on Thursday during a meeting in Belgrade with Lithuanian Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Council of the EU Linas Linkevicius.

Linkevicius for his part "commended Serbia for its serious efforts to prepare for the start of accession negotiations," Tanjug said.

Stefanović thanked Linkevicius for the Lithuanian parliament's ratification of Serbia's Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, which significantly contributed to the EU's decision to start accession talks with Serbia, the Serbian parliament said in a release.

Stefanović expressed hope Lithuania's six-month presidency of the EU will be successful and that Serbia will begin membership talks in this period.

Our goal is to join the EU by 2020, said Stefanović, listing all of the areas where reforms are under way, including harmonization of legislation with the European.

He said the economic cooperation between Serbia and Lithuania has the potential to grow, along with overall bilateral ties, including political and parliamentary.

Stefanović informed Linkevicius about progress in regional cooperation, which is among Serbia's foreign policy priorities, noting that Serbia's role in the region in recent years has generally been described as constructive and significant.

Stefanović also informed the Lithuanian FM about the Brussels agreement between Belgrade and Priština, stressing that Serbia's efforts are not limited to the talks but also focus on the implementation of the agreements and noting that the results are verifiable, even though these are difficult decisions and an arduous process.

He also talked about the agreement on the coming local election in Kosovo, noting that the Serbian government has called on all Kosovo Serbs to go to the polls and that all those born in Kosovo have the right to vote.

The Lithuanian foreign minister commended Serbia for its serious preparations for the talks with the EU, saying it is a very specific and intensive process during which the best form of cooperation is direct contact with the relevant committees in the member states.

Linkevicius said he would gladly relay Serbia's interest in building closer parliamentary ties and concluded that Lithuania has reset its relations with Serbia and ratified the SAA very quickly, setting aside unresolved bilateral issues and taking the stance that the Western Balkans and Serbia are far more important than open issues.

He expressed hope Serbia will open accession talks in the near future, before the completion of Lithuania's presidency which finishes at the end of the year, saying he is impressed with the level of Serbia's readiness for starting talks in all chapters.