"Many think Kosovo's only condition for EU. It's not."
A solution regarding Kosovo is not the only precondition on Serbia's EU path, says EU Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.Source: Vecernje novosti, Tanjug
Hahn told the Belgrade-based daily Vecernje Novosti that "implementation reforms in the field of the rule of law, the fundamental rights and good governance remains at the core of the enlargement process."
"The fact that the European Union must be stronger and firmer before it can be expanded does not in any way jeopardize our work with candidate countries on their willingness to become members," he told he newspaper.
Asked about the chances of Serbia becoming a member by 2025, Hahn replied that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has repeatedly made it clear that no new member state can access the EU without solving "open bilateral issues."
"For Serbia this means that it is necessary to conclude and permanently implement a legally binding agreement with Pristina, but let me say one more thing. It seems that many, including politicians, have the impression that a solution regarding Kosovo is the only precondition on the road of Serbia to the EU. This is not the case. Implementation of reforms in the area of the rule of law, the fundamental rights and good governance remains at the core of the enlargement process," the EU official said.
Hahn declined to answer when asked " when he expects a final agreement between Belgrade and Pristina" -nor about a possible "border changes" - saying that the EU "does not speculate on possible elements of a final legally binding agreement."
He emphasized, however, that the EU "fully supports the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and that a final agreement implies a viable, sustainable and realistic solution in line with international law and EU acquis."
"Any agreement must be specific and tailor-made, not one creating a precedent, and contributing to regional stability and the region's path to the EU," Hahn said.