Serbia "could be on agenda to join EU" in 2020

KOPAONIK -- Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has said that Serbia "could in 2020 be on the agenda for joining the EU as a full-fledged member".

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

The head of the caretaker government addressed the Kopaonik Business Forum on Tuesday to add that the country "must remain committed to continuation of these negotiations, as well as the dialogue with Priština."

"It would be a lot easier and nicer for me to slap (Hashim) Thaci, rather than negotiate with him during the election campaign, which is what I told him in Brussels - wouldn't it be nice if we had a fight ahead of the elections," Dačić was quoted as saying.

However, he added, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton "is asking that negotiations continue now."

"They wanted the talks to continue on March 13, which is the last day of the campaign, and precisely then I'm supposed to see Thaci - that's a real nice campaign," he continued, speaking about the need of those who exercise power "to be responsible, face difficult everyday problems that are often not in line with their political interests."

Dačić then commented on announcements from Priština that "the Kosovo army" would be formed, to say this was "not in line with the Brussels agreement:"

"They have been announcing this before, but we asked for guarantees from KFOR and NATO that, should this Kosovo army form at some point, it would not go to the north without KFOR's approval."

He specified that Serbia received these guarantees from NATO, and said he "hoped this would be carried out in practice."

The leader of the SPS party also told the conference that Serbia "should appreciate its own potentials more," and once again be as strong as it was during the era of the Nemanjićs - the founders of the medieval Serbian state.

"The German ambassador and EU ambassadors will not hold it against me if I remind that Serbia is now marking 900 years since the birth of Stefan Nemanja, who signed the first international document with then ruler Barbarossa in Niš. Stefan Nemanja signed himself, while Barbarossa placed his thumbprint," noted Dačić.

"What I'm trying to say is that we should respect ourselves a bit more and work in the interest of our country, and be once against as strong as we were in the era of the Nemanjić (dynasty)," said he.

According to Dačić, "as broad as consensus as possible is need on changes in the economy," while there was "no dilemma about the basic direction of reforms."