German foreign minister visiting Serbia
President Aleksandar Vucic received on Wednesday in Belgrade Germany's Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
According to a press release from the Serbian Presidency, Vucic, among other things, said that Serbia "expects the most" from Germany, whose stance is often "firm, hard, and difficult" - but which is "a reliable and secure partner on Serbia's EU path."
Speaking at a joint press conference, Vucic said that "although 2025 is not carved in stone," his country would like to "finish the job and be a part of the EU by that date."
He also said that Serbia had "obligations in three areas on the road to the EU, for which it had Germany's support."
"The first is to preserve peace and regional stability. The second, to solve the problem with Pristina, or, as the Germans would say, relations with Kosovo. The third concerns (EU accession negotiations) chapters 23 and 24, that is, the rule of law, the judiciary, freedom of expression," Vucic said, adding, "we are not afraid when it comes to the third point."
"When it comes to the first point, we have been doing everything thus far and will continue to do everything to preserve stability and peace. However, we know that a very difficult task is ahead of us in solving the problem and finding a solution with Pristina," he said.
Sigmar told reporters that "meeting European standards in the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, and freedom of the press" was of key importance for EU membership.
He also stated that Serbia "cannot stabilize the region on its own - but there can be no stability in the region without Serbia, therefore Serbia is of exceptional importance for the future of the Western Balkans and Europe."
Germany, like the EU, wants a solution to be found for Belgrade-Pristina relations, he said, according to Tanjug.
"Of course, Germany is interested in a solution being found and the situation being eased," Gabriel said when asked by reporters "what demand Serbia could expect from Germany's new government in terms of normalization of Belgrade's ties with Pristina."