EU official presents progress report to PM

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport on Wednesday gave Prime Minister Ivica Dačić the report on Serbia's progress towards the EU.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
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Davenport will also address a press conference later in the day.

Dačić said that the European Commission's report on the progress of Serbia was one of the most favorable so far and expects that the accession negotiations with the EU will start no later than January.

He said he was pleased with the score given to Serbia, which will continue the reforms, including the dialogue with Priština.

Dačić said that the first meeting of the Council for the Implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement would be held in Luxembourg on Monday, chaired by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

"We expect the European Commission and the European Council to give a positive opinion for the holding of the Intergovernmental Conference and the official start of negotiations," Dačić said.

Minister Without Portfolio responsible for EU integration Branko Ružić held a briefing for journalists on Wednesday and said the EC report was "very positive."

"I must say that the report is globally very positive. In political terms, perhaps for the first time it clearly expressed a positive appraisal of the progress, "Ružić said. He added that the report put "the greatest emphasis on the normalization of relations with Kosovo," which, as he said, received "fantastic marks."

"The main message is that the government remained united in its commitment to EU integration and dialogue with Priština," he said, adding that the government had shown "consistency in decision-making and public statements of officials."

According to him, the fight against corruption was evaluated positively, and the same score was presented for the fight against organized crime, while noting that numerous investigations have been launched, "but there are few convictions."

Ružić said that the European Commission has also assessed the progress made in developing a strategy and action plan for the reform of public administration and that the strategy and action plan for judicial reform were appraised positively.

Ružić said that the Commission has made it clear that it will oversee the implementation of the Article of the Criminal Code on Abuse of Office, in which Serbia is not in compliance with the EU.

When it comes to media reform, the report expressed concern, Ružić said, adding that after the cabinet reshuffle the competent ministry had taken steps to bring the media laws.

He added that the only score that was not in the positive spirit related to the LGBT rights, and that the report noted the lack of political support to realize the rights of that population.

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