Serbia once again at crossroads, says EU official

In a column published on Tuesday, Miroslav Lajčak expressed his "strong impression that once again Serbia finds itself at a crossroads."

Source: Beta

The director of EU's External Action Service for Russia, Eastern Neighborhood and the Western Balkans wrote his article for the EUobserver website.

Lajčak said that the election of Serbia's new president, Tomislav Nikolić, "proved that the country's political landscape had become more complex and that the EU needs to be involved in an intensive dialog with Serbian authorities and all political leaders from the very first moment."

Commenting on his recent meetings in Belgrade with Serbian political leaders and government ministers, Lajčak estimated that this year could be a turning point in Serbia's "European history."

Lajčak pointed out that the joint invitation EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso for the new Serbian president to visit Brussels confirmed that "the EU wants to continue its open approach toward Serbia in line with the country's European future."

He said that Serbia must carry out the necessary reforms for EU membership and that a key criterion was "the normalization of relations and dialogue with Priština".

"Many representatives in Serbia have tried to find a balance between the national interest in European integration and this issue," noted Lajčak, and added that this was "no longer a progressive method".

According to the Slovak diplomat who visited Belgrade last week, "full focus on accession to the EU will be necessary in order to succeed".

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