Difficult without EU, more so without Kosovo

Tomislav Nikolić said on Monday as he received Finland's FM Erkki Tuomioja in Belgrade,that Serbia was "working intensively on the EU integration process."

Izvor: Tanjug

But any talk between Belgrade and Priština and signs of willingness to reach a compromise "are seen by Albania as recognition of Kosovo's independence," the Sebrian president was quoted as saying.

Serbia is aware that it can "hardly survive" without EU membership, Nikolić said and added that Serbia is also aware that without Kosovo and Metohija "it cannot survive," his press service said.

The president underscored that in the mediation in the Belgrade-Priština dialogue, the EU is faced with two sides which have a different view of the situation, as one sees it as an autonomy for Kosovo and is trying to protect the national interests, while the other sides sees this as Kosovo's independence.

Tuomioja commended Serbia's leadership on its courage, pragmatic approach, and the efforts it invested in the implementation of the agreements reached so far.

Finland supports Serbia's prompt EU accession and believes that there should be no brakes to EU enlargement, Tuomioja said as quoted in the release.

The Serbian president expressed the belief and hope that EU members are aware of the difficult situation Serbia is facing and the fact that European values are deeply knit in the Serbian way of life, thinking and being as a whole.

Nikolić underscored that Serbia maintains excellent ties with regional countries and announced that Croatian President Ivo Josipovic would visit Serbia soon, noting that he met with presidents of regional countries.

"Unfortunately, there is a tendency for Romania to present the Vlach minority as Romanians, and Serbia cannot allow this as it does not serve the interests of that minority," Nikolić said.

Tuomioja said that Serbia maintains the optimum approach to the regulation of minority rights and added that the position of the Roma and LGBT community needs to be additionally improved.

Nikolić agreed that additional investments should be made in education of the Roma community and underscored that Serbia is facing potential reintroduction of the visa regime so as to prevent members of the Roma population from crossing the borders.

The benefits which the EU grants asylum-seekers are very attractive to the Roma population because the privileges are greater even than those which ministers in Serbia have, Nikolić said.

The EU should ensure freedom of movement for all citizens, including the Roma, instead of shutting them in within Serbia and other countries in the region and leaving the issue for them to tackle on their own.

"We should resolve this problem together because a country can solve it on its own," the Serbian president said.

As for the LGBT population, the president underscored that they should have the same rights as other citizens and that he would personally back their security in case there are reasons to believe it may be brought into jeopardy.


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