EU has "no new conditions for Serbia"
There are no new conditions for Serbia on its path towards the EU, the organization's representative in Serbia Michael Davenport has said.Source: Tanjug
The opening of the first chapter in the membership negotiations can be expected later this year, according to the head of the EU delegation in Belgrade.
Davenport added that he "does not know what Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic had in mind when he said that the EU does not know what to do with Serbia, and is constantly setting new conditions."
"As Federica Mogherini has said during her visit to Belgrade recently - there are no new conditions. Perhaps Mr. Deputy Prime Minister has in mind what is specifically required to open one chapter or the other. I don't know, you should contact him to find out what he had in mind," Davenport told reporters ahead of a panel held at the Jewish Municipality in Subotica.
He added that there is now desire to open first chapters in the negotiations, which is preceded by, as he expects, the last draft action plan for Chapter 23, followed by one for Chapter 24.
"On the one hand it all depends the Ministry of Justice, and on the other on the Ministry of the Interior. We are ready and on the basis of these two action plans the European Commission will submit action plans and recommendations to member-states of the European Union," said Davenport.
Asked "when he expects the opening of first chapters," Davenport said that he "found it difficult to answer before looking at the action plan, but that it will happen soon."
"I think soon, during this year in any case, we can talk about the opening these two chapters," he said.
Comparing "where Serbia was on the road of EU integrations three or four years" to where it is now, the EU official concluded that the country has made "great progress," recalling that two years ago it became a candidate and last year officially opened membership negotiations, while screenings of all 35 chapters were recently completed.
"It is now about when we can open and start with negotiations on individual chapters in the negotiations," he said.
Davenport believes that "everybody is aware" that there are are many tasks, "and that is why there is desire to begin the negotiations with the rule of law, anti-corruption, anti-discrimination and freedom of the media."
"That's the starting point," he was quoted as saying.
Asked about the state of media freedom, Davenport said that the Serbian government has taken several important steps to improve the situation, citing a set of media laws whose concrete implementation is now expected.
"I think that Serbia has recognized that the situation in the media is not ideal. With its media strategy and the adoption of these laws, it is now, during this year, above all about implementation in this sphere," he said.
Asked about EU's position on Serbia's participation in the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Davenport said that it was up to each country to determine "what and where to take part in."
Describing May 9 as an important day "for the countries of the former Soviet Union because of the large number of their victims during World War II," Davenport announced that representatives of the EU will "on May 8 lay wreaths in Moscow."
He then recalled that May 9 was "also of great importance for the EU" - because of the Schuman Declaration.
"That is Robert Schuman day, when we think about the beginnings of the European Union and the future of our common European vision. Including also Serbia as a future member state of the European Union," said Davenport.