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European Commission - Press release

EU is committed to Serbia's European perspective

Brussels, 18 November 2014

Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations met today in Brussels Ivica Dačić the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Following the meeting he said to the media:

‘It is a great pleasure to have met with the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dačić today and I look forward to continuing our discussions during my forthcoming official visit to Serbia on Thursday. I have congratulated the DPM on the professionalism and high level of commitment of Serbia throughout the negotiation process and acknowledged the substantial progress Serbia has made in recent past on its path towards EU membership.

The Deputy Prime Minister and I have been discussing the accession negotiations. I have expressed that Serbia can rely on the full support of the Commission to continue in the process with the same success they have had thus far. I reassured Deputy Prime Minister Dačić about the firmness of EU's commitment to Serbia's European perspective. My forthcoming visit to Serbia this week, early in my mandate, is a sign that enlargement negotiations have the same priority as before.

However, much work still lies ahead and I wish to stress that Serbia needs to continue delivering on its reform priorities in a sustained manner as the pace of negotiations will depend on progress in key areas, as well as on the normalisation process with Kosovo.

I would like to commend the progress that has been made in relation to normalising relations with Kosovo. It is thanks to this progress that both parties are now progressing closer towards EU accession. I am confident that Belgrade and Pristina will ensure that this progress continues.

We also discussed foreign policy, at a time where Serbian is engaged into an intense diplomatic activity. I welcomed Prime Minister Vučić's unequivocal stance on Serbia's EU path during PR Putin's visit. I underlined that, as per its negotiating framework, Serbia should progressively align its foreign policy positions to the EU ones.

I praised Serbia's leadership and responsibility in the regional cooperation. The holding of WB6 regional conference on economic governance and the visit of Albanian PM Rama in Belgrade last week, highlight Serbia's will to position itself as a leader in the region.

With regard to the reform programme, I welcome the priority given to economic reforms and I commend the commitment made at the WB6 conference in Belgrade to improve economic governance, a key priority of the Commission, together with structural reforms and fiscal measures.

Let me conclude by noting that the EU attaches great importance to progress of Serbia on its road to the EU, which bears a powerful message for the entire Western Balkans region.’

IP/14/1941

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