"Membership talks provide impetus for reforms"
BELGRADE -- The start of Serbia-EU talks "is a positive signal that the country should use the current momentum and be 100 percent committed to further reforms."
This is according to European Parliament member Eduard Kukan.
"I hope that this (the start of accession talks) brings more impetus for the reforms in the country. It is an important step in a long process and Serbia is moving in the right direction," Kukan told Tanjug ahead of the first intergovernmental conference between Serbia and the EU on January 21, which will mark the formal start of negotiations with Brussels.
"There are a number of areas in which Serbia must be 100 percent committed to further reforms. This entails reforms in the judiciary sector, combating crime and corruption, fighting discrimination and promoting human rights and minority rights," explained the MEP from Slovakia, member of the European People's Party group.
The Serbian government should use this momentum in the EU integration process, stressed Kukan, who is also a member of the Friends of Serbia group in the EP.
He pointed out that the dialogue with Priština is important for further progress in the EU integration.
"I hope that both sides will realize the importance of what has been achieved so far. All the agreements are a good base for building up better relations between Belgrade and Priština," noted Kukan, adding that the key is to implement the agreements and to continue working on solutions to outstanding issues.
Kukan expressed hope that within a foreseeable time the dialogue will focus on joint projects that will help people in the region, as well as the integration processes.
The start of negotiations with Serbia is good news and a signal for the country and the region that the EU integration process is moving ahead, and that the EU will continue to be involved in the enlargement policy, said Kukan.
The start of Serbia's accession talks with the EU is an important event, but the country's government has to commit itself to making painful reforms as soon as possible, British expert for the Balkans James Ker-Lindsay has said.
"The government needs to be honest with the people about the accession process. The start of talks with the EU is a momentous occasion, but it marks just the start of what will be a very long and difficult process," he told Tanjug.
The government needs to commit itself to making painful reforms as quickly as possible without playing politics, he noted.
Although the accession process is often referred to as a negotiation, this is not correct, he said, explaining that the reality was that there was very little to negotiate.
"The only room for manoeuvre really concerns when the laws must be enacted. In some cases there is room for delays. However, it is extremely rare that a full exemption is given," he pointed out.
"As someone who has watched previous enlargements closely, the best advice would be for the chief negotiator to pick her battles carefully and sparingly. For the most part, it is better to concentrate on getting the job done as quickly as possible in order to gain the benefits of full membership," the senior research fellow of the London School of Economics and Political Science remarked.
"In the years ahead, almost every aspect of life in Serbia will be affected as hundreds of new laws will have to be passed to ensure that Serbia meets the conditions of membership," he added.
"While the vast majority of these laws will eventually lead to significant improvements in the day-to-day life of Serbian citizens, many of the measures will not be popular," he stated.
The government will need to be prepared for this, he stressed, adding that Kosovo would be the key element of the entire accession process, and that important talks would be required in order to find a solution to that.
However, the Kosovo issue is just one of a number of difficult problems Serbia will face, he underscored.
January 20, 2014 | 16:19 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (2) | Send comment
PRIŠTINA -- Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga on Monday called repeat mayoral elections in the municipality of North Mitrovica for February 23, Tanjug reported.
January 20, 2014 | 15:48 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (2) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- The first Serbia-EU intergovernmental conference, marking the official start of Serbia's EU accession talks, is to be held in Brussels on Tuesday.
January 20, 2014 | 14:05 | Source: Beta, Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Serbia's goal is to complete all EU-accession-related work by 2018, Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić said on Monday.
January 20, 2014 | 13:13 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (14) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Vojislav Koštunica has said further integration into the European Union would be devastating for Serbia's national interests.
January 20, 2014 | 13:06 | Source: B92 | Comments: (23) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- "We do not live in an ideal world but in one in which the rules are imposed," Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić told B92 TV n an interview on Monday.
January 20, 2014 | 11:14 | Source: B92, Večernje novosti | Comments: (3) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- A day before the start of Serbia's membership negotiations with the European Union, a session of the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU begins in Brussels.
January 20, 2014 | 10:17 | Source: Danas | Comments: (0) | Send comment
It is uncertain if Branko Ružić will be in the state delegation that will travel to Brussels on Tuesday for the first EU-Serbia intergovernmental conference.
January 20, 2014 | 09:11 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (0) | Send comment
NOVI SAD -- Dragan Đilas will continue as president of the Democratic Party (DS), after most DS main board members gave him their confidence and accepted his work report.
January 17, 2014 | 16:59 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (4) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Prime Minister Ivica Dačić said on Friday that he is confident that Serbia will by 2018 meet all conditions for joining the EU, and become a member in 2020.
January 17, 2014 | 15:54 | Source: B92, Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- The government on Friday dismissed Svetko Kovač from his post of director of the Military Security Agency (VBA), the government press office has announced.
January 17, 2014 | 12:05 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić and Europol Director Rob Wainwright signed on Thursday an operational agreement.
January 17, 2014 | 11:54 | Source: B92 | Comments: (2) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Parliament Speaker Nebojša Stefanović on Friday scheduled the holding of early local elections for the city assembly in Belgrade.
January 17, 2014 | 10:54 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (9) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- The European Parliament (EP) passed on Thursday a resolution on Kosovo welcoming the European Council decision to open SAA negotiations.
January 17, 2014 | 09:52 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (18) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- President Tomislav Nikolić has condemned the murder of northern Kosovska Mitrovica municipal councillor Dimitrije Janićijević.
January 16, 2014 | 16:57 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- The Serb Progressive Party (SNS) is prepared to discuss the Statute of Vojvodina with the Democratic Party (DS), SNS official Nikola Selaković says.
January 16, 2014 | 15:55 | Source: Politika, VIP | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- The Democrats (DS) are dealing with a false dilemma and a false topic of whether to be a political partner to the SNS, says DS Vice-President Miodrag Rakić.
January 16, 2014 | 15:25 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (6) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- PM and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said he fiercely condemned the murder of northern Kosovska Mitrovica councilor Dimitrije Janićijević.
January 16, 2014 | 13:32 | Source: Beta, Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
STRASBOURG -- The European Parliament (EP) adopted on Thursday a report from rapporteur Jelko Kacin on Serbia's progress in EU integration.
January 16, 2014 | 13:26 | Source: Tanjug, VIP | Comments: (11) | Send comment
VIENNA -- NATO wants Austria to increase its contingent in KFOR in Kosovo, Tanjug has reported, quoting the Vienna-based daily Kurier.