EU leaders to decide on Serbia's accession talks

European Union leaders will on Friday begin the second day of their regular summit, with Serbia on the agenda around noon or early afternoon.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
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The basis for their discussion will be the recommendations of the Council of Ministers, which was held earlier this week in Luxembourg.

The draft conclusions that were adopted unanimously by EU foreign ministers on Tuesday and that should be verified by the heads of state or government at the end of the two-day session today, contain the definition that Serbia's accession talks would begin "no later than in December 2013 (January 2014)".

The prepared draft conclusions of this meeting suggests that EU leaders confirm that negotiations on Serbia's membership may start from January, if by that time the Brussels agreement has been fully implemented, and if there is "progress in the normalization of relations with Kosovo."

The European Commission will report on this progress, while the Council of Ministers and the European Council will verify it, most likely at a summit in December.

The German federal parliament on Thursday adopted a declaration stating that the first accession conference between Serbia and the EU in January in 2014 may be held only after the Council of Ministers of the EU states and the European Council (EU leaders) confirmed "full and permanent implementation of obligations" arising from the agreement between Belgrade and Priština.

The first accession conference marks the beginning of negotiations.

Although most other states sought to open negotiations without the Council's further verification, reports said that "consensus is required in EU decision-making," so it is almost certain that the negotiations will not begin before January.

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said in a telephone conversation with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić that "there will not be future conditions for negotiations with the EU."

Dačić stated on Thursday he expected "a historic day for Serbia and the EU" on Friday, while his first deputy, Aleksandar Vučić, said that "Serbia was not thrilled" by what was heard from some EU member states, but still expected "good news."

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