EU won't reintroduce visas, says minister
Branko Ružić said on Thursday that there was "no reason for apprehension that visas will be introduced for Serbian citizens traveling to the EU."Source: Tanjug
Serbia's minister without portfolio in charge of EU integration spoke after the European parliament adopted a mechanism for temporary suspension of the visa-free regime for the countries from which bogus asylum seekers are coming, Serbia included.
But Ružić (SPS) told Tanjug that there was "no reason for apprehension that this implies anything bad for Serbian citizens."
“The decision is neither directed against Serbian citizens, nor visas will be introduced for our citizens,” he said.
The EP adopted an amendment to the Council regulation (EC No 539/2001) with a view to preventing possible violations of the right to the freedom of movement, Ružić said.
"However, the fact is, and our partners in the EU and we in Belgrade know this, that a vast majority of our citizens do not violate that right,“ Ružić said.
Asked what Serbia could do so as to resolve the issue of bogus asylum seekers, Ružić said that Serbia has practically done all it could.
The state bodies are conscientiously working on that, and progress reports confirm that Serbia is really committed to the job, the minister said.
"I expect that the problem will be reduced to the minimum, and that the EU and our partners will show understanding in relation to that. Our obligation is to work on that even more conscientiously," Ružić said.
Branko Ružić also noted on Thursday the EU would begin its explanatory screening of Serbia for chapters 23, 24 and 32 on September 25.
"The most important thing is that we have focused all our administrative and expert capabilities on starting this very difficult process," he told Tanjug.
"Alongside that, we expect a lot from December 20, when the framework for the talks with Serbia should be adopted," he noted.
Serbia has practically prepared everything needed for the process in the administrative and political sense, he pointed out.
"It is a continuous process that will take as long as we need to prove ourselves. I am certain that even the most sceptical in the EU understand that the Serbian government has expressed commitment, through actions as well, to fulfilling that goal,"
The process that starts with the screening will introduce Serbia to the fundamental process of EU integration, and that is social reform, he stated.
"That is why the process is referred to as the interior issue par excellence," Ružić said.