Accession talks to start after "political confirmation"

European Union leaders on Friday in Brussels decided to open accession negotiations with Serbia in January at the latest.

Source: B92
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The talks will start after the heads of state of the EU confirm it with a political decision in December.

"The first accession conference for Serbia will be held not later than January," said European Council President Herman van Rompuy.

He said that this was "a historic moment for the Balkans - not only because Croatia becomes a member of the European family, but also because Serbia and Kosovo made a big step in European integrations."

"The last two decisions are made as a direct result of the courageous agreement between Belgrade and Priština," stressed Van Rompuy.

Some of the ministers and officials of the EU Council of Ministers that followed the session of the leaders of the EU earlier today expressed their strong belief that a decision would be adopted to start accession negotiations with Serbia and that this would start by the end of January of next year.

Germany's position today was that before the accession conference in January, the implementation of the Brussels agreement between Belgrade and Priština must be checked. B92 learned that prior to the opening of accession negotiations, the confirmation of the European Council will still be needed.

Asked by a reported,Van Rompuy said that prior to the formal opening of accession negotiations with Serbia the European Council will confirm that decision.

"As for the opening of negotiations, the European Council makes a political, not a legal decision. In our conclusions today as well we clearly indicated that confirmation is required, and it's a very good word - therefore the European Council should confirm the framework for the opening of accession negotiations, it is our normal procedure and it is not an additional condition," said Van Rompuy.

The next regular meeting of the European Council is in December.

As reported by Beta, the EU leaders in their conclusions stressed the date of the Intergovernmental Conference (no later than January 2014), and also emphasized that prior to that, a regular session on enlargement will confirm a mandate for negotiations (negotiating framework) that will be produced in the meantime by the European Commission.

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