New EU accession chapters to be opened by end of year - PM

"The strategic goal of our country is the European Union and the entry into the family of European countries," Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has said.

Source: B92,

Brnabic "reiterated" this in Brussels on Wednesday, following her meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, that wrapped up her two-day visit, the Serbian government announced.

Brnabic said that she is returning to Belgrade with a message that new chapters will be opened in the negotiations with the EU by the end of the year, but also with the announcements of the visits of the presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission to Serbia in 2018.

"All these visits are a signal that our country is heading towards the EU and that we have full and strong support in the job that we are doing," she said.

Mogherini "stressed that the future of Serbia lies within the Union and that this is the direction that Serbia and the EU are working together on."

"The commitment you are showing concerning the region of the Western Balkans and cooperation in overcoming the ghosts of the past and building the bright paths of the future, based on economic and infrastructural integration, is the European way of living with neighbors and improving the lives of citizens," Mogherini underlined.

She "expressed the expectation that there will be significant progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina during 2018 and specified that the two sides are now working to identify the content, rhythm, speed and format of the new phase of the dialogue."

According to her, both sides are determined and have internal political conditions for achieving results.

Also on Wednesday in Brussels, Brnabic met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, whom she told that her government was "implementing reforms on the road to Serbia's membership in the EU primarily for the sake of its citizens, but that the number of the chapters opened should match more with the efforts and results Serbia has achieved in the negotiation process."

According to the Serbian government, Brnabic" expressed her gratitude to the European Commission for constructive cooperation when it comes to the negotiation process and reiterated that joining the European Union is Serbia's strategic goal" and "thanked Juncker for positive messages in his speech on the state of the EU and the Letter of Intentions, in which Serbia is one of the countries that have been recognized as the leaders of the European integration in the region, in response to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's initiative to get a clearer date, and added that Serbia can justify this assessment."

Juncker congratulated Brnabic on her appointment as prime minister of Serbia and thanked her for choosing Brussels as the place for her first official visit on that function.

Juncker and Brnabic "agreed that Serbia needs to continue to implement reforms, especially those related to the rule of law, noting that speed is not important, but the quality that is achieved for the citizens of Serbia."

Juncker "encouraged Serbia to continue to play a constructive role in the stability of the Western Balkans and accepted the invitation to visit Belgrade next spring."


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