"Serbia will join EU when Kosovo joins UN"
German MPs visiting Belgrade last week told the country's officials that Serbia will not start talks to join the EU until it implements the Brussels agreement.Source: Tanjug
Another message they relayed was that Serbia will not join the EU "until Kosovo becomes a full-fledged member of the UN."
This is according to Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Belgrade Director Henri Bonher, who spoke for Tanjug on Friday, and was present during the meetings German ruling party officials Andreas Schockenhoff and Hans Joachim Falenski had in Belgrade.
Serbia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2012; in 2008, ethnic Albanians in Kosovo unilaterally declared Independence of the province, but Belgrade rejected the proclamation, saying it violated the country's Constitution and territorial integrity.
While in Serbia last week, Schockenhoff and Falenski told their interlocutors that "Germany continues to support reforms and the process of integrations, but it insists that Serbia does its homework," said Bohnet, and specified it concerned seven "expectations" that Schockenhoff first presented in 2012. They are still valid and Serbia must fulfill them, noted Bohnet.
These seven demands were, according to him, "mentioned in one way or another in all the meetings."
"The delegation reminded its partners that Germany's expectations must be met without further loss of time," he said.
According to the German MPs the biggest problems before Serbia are the judiciary and the process of normalizing relations with Priština.
"Accordingly, the first to be opened will be the relevant chapters, most likely chapter 35, if Belgrade and Priština work to fulfill the plan of implementation of the Brussels agreement," said Bohnet.
He added that in the past few months, because of elections held by both sides, the progress was slow.
"A few points from the Brussels agreement have not been implemented, including the integration of the judiciary and establishment of the community of Serb municipalities," said Bohnet.
According to him, the German delegation "knows that both sides must show flexibility in order to devise sustainable solutions."
Therefore, he added, Schockenhoff visited Priština two weeks ago and urged the authorities there to work on making progress.
Asked whether "harmonization of foreign policy of Serbia and the EU - that is, Serbia's stance towards the Ukrainian crisis and toward Russia" was also discussed, Bohnet said this was not the case, but added that "the delegation made comments on the timing of visits of Serbian officials to Russia and Russian officials to Serbia in recent weeks."
The German parliamentarians, he said, made clear their position that they "do not consider Russia to be playing a constructive role in the Ukrainian crisis."
Other issues discussed during the meetings, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation official revealed, concerned the need to successfully implement planned reforms in the light of the effects of the catastrophic floods.
Serbian interlocutors, according to Bohnet, informed the German delegation about the legislation - among other, on labor and privatization - that are key to the success of the government's economic reforms, and promised that these laws would be quickly adopted.
"The delegation made it clear that they expects an open debate on reforms with the involvement of all stakeholders, as well as the opposition," said Bohnet.
Summing up his impressions after the visit of the German parliamentarians, Bohnet said he thought the delegation was "pleased to learn about the latest political and economic situation in Serbia, in order to better assess what has been achieved and what still needs to be done, from Berlin's point of view."