Serbian president meets with Barroso

Tomislav Nikolić and Jose Manuel Barroso have concluded that Serbia and the EU hold different views on world events "in some 50 percent of the cases."

Source: Beta, Tanjug

The Serbian president told a joint news conference he held in Belgrade with the president of the European Commission that he "explained the position of Serbia on any specific point of disagreement, even where we have an agreement on common policy."

"We will consider if we perhaps missed to have identical positions somewhere... Serbia is a country that has its own policy and we wish to fit this policy into the interests of all citizens of Serbia and in a much broader policy," said Nikolić.

Nikolić said that he discussed chapters 23 and 24, regarding the fight against corruption and crime, and public administration reform and added that they also discussed relations with the administration of Priština, what has been achieved so far and what is yet to be achieved, and the conditions of implementation of the Brussels agreement.

According to him, the meeting was open, and that during it, "positions that are the same, as well as those that could be the subject of discussion in order to find a common path" were noted.

Serbia, Nikolić said, has its own policy that should be conducted in accordance with the interests of the citizens, it has "friends in the north and the east and the west and the south," but added that it was "necessary to fit this policy into a broader policy."

Barroso said he believes that, "if there is political will on both sides," Serbia can join the EU.

Nikolić thanked him for the efforts and support given by Serbia on its path towards the EU and said that Barroso came to visit Serbia, "the next member of the EU."

Nikolić believes that Serbia "made progress also because all members of the European Commission, above all Barroso, were committed to the idea that Serbia in the near future should join the EU."

He added that the assistance that the European Union gave after the catastrophic floods showed that Serbia "can count on a much larger European family."

"Who knows how this would have ended up if many EU member states, but also those that are not, did not help with the equipment that Serbia does not have," he said.

Nikolić said he and Barroso discussed a donor conference that will "show solidarity with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia of all countries of the world, with the full patronage of the EU and with the cooperation of the United Nations."

Talking about political issues, Nikolić said that without Serbia in the EU, "the future of the Western Balkans would be very uncertain."

Barroso said that the process of Serbia's accession to the EU was going at a good pace thanks to the commitment of the negotiating team and said that Serbia can count on the support of the EU in the further process.

Speaking about reform programs, the president of the European Commission welcomed the economic reform, the fight against crime and corruption, and public administration reform.

"I believe that it is important for the Serbian people, regardless of accession to the EU," he said. Barroso said that the EU was with Serbia "in times of pain and suffering," and expressed condolences to the victims of the recent floods.

"There is still a lot of work, but you can count on the support of the EU," he said, recalling that on a donor conference organized by France and Slovenia, and hosted by the EU, would be held in Brussels on July 16.

Barroso emphasized "the significant progress in the normalization of relations with Kosovo," which he said was certainly very important.

"I expect that Belgrade and Priština ensure the continuation and progress of the dialogue," he said.

According to him, Serbia has "a unique role" in the Western Balkans and its accession to the EU is crucial for further enlargement of the EU in the region.

"I'm here on behalf of the EU to reiterate that this process can succeed," concluded the outgoing president of the European Commission at the end of his visit to Serbia.


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