EU membership is Serbia's top foreign policy goal, PM says

Membership in the EU is the most important foreign policy goal of Serbia, Serbia's PM Brnabic has told a visiting British official.

Source: B92,

However, she added during her meeting in Belgrade with Permanent Undersecretary at the Foreign Office Simon McDonald, "it is equally important how we will implement reforms on the path to membership."

According to a statement published by the Serbian government, Brnabic "pointed out that by the end of the year, Serbia expects to open three additional chapters, and that this will further contribute to strengthening public support for the European idea."

"The results of the reforms that will be achieved on this path are more important to me. Citizens are thinking about how many chapters are open, but the government is focused on results. I think we will be ready to join the EU by 2020, but the road to the Union is important for us. When this standard is attained, it will be a 'win-win' situation, and then the date of entry will not matter," she explained.

Brnabic also "pointed out the positive indicators of economic reforms in Serbia conducted over the past three years, and added that the government's goal is to continue to implement fiscal discipline and to focus on measures to increase GDP," and added:

"Our goal is also to reform education and through digitization create the basis for our economy to be driven by innovations, not investments. And that is why we have to work hard to achieve this higher level."

She "stressed that Serbia needs a system of education for the 21st century and that the introduction of compulsory IT in elementary schools this year is the first step on this path" and added that "successful continuation of Serbia's development and the acceleration of economic growth, both in our country and in the rest of the Western Balkans region, will not be possible without the preservation of regional political stability and good neighborly relations."

Brnabic said that "our country will continue to lead a responsible policy and will remain dedicated to the policy of solving all outstanding issues through dialogue - Serbia is sincerely advocating for the preservation of regional stability."

None of our countries have a big market, and whatever happens in one country, it will affect the rest of the region. That is why we need to build a stronger and stronger region, she stressed.

According to the government statement, McDonald "agreed with Branbic that the internal dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija, initiated by President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, is very important, and that it should involve a larger number of participants."

He "pointed out that dialogue is as important as the path of Serbia towards the EU, as it also leads to a gradual improvement of relations between Belgrade and Pristina" and added that he came to Serbia "to convey the message that the UK, although exiting the EU, respects and supports the desire for Serbia's membership in the Union and will show it at the Western Balkans Summit and the EU in London next year."


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