Brussels, 19 September 2011
Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia
"Today I met Deputy Prime Minister Božidar Đelić to review the state of play of reforms in Serbia, some three weeks before the Commission will adopt its Opinion on Serbia's membership application. Overall, I acknowledged the commitment of the Serbian leadership to the European integration process and important results achieved so far:
The arrests and transfers of the ICTY indictees Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić have represented a major development for international justice and Serbia's road to the EU.
Key pieces of legislation were adopted in recent months incorporating key European standards in the areas of electoral law, relations between parliament and independent regulatory bodies and financing of political parties. Important steps were also taken in the judiciary where a review process on the re-appointment procedure of judges and prosecutors is ongoing.
I have encouraged Serbia to use this momentum to intensify work on reforms. We reviewed several important reforms that Serbia is about to bring to fruition. In particular, we expect progress the adoption of the new media strategy and the satisfactory continuation of the reappointment procedure of judges and prosecutors in line with the agreed criteria. We also look forward to the outcome of the public debate on the Law on Restitution and the Law on Public Property, and to further results in the fight against corruption.
Regional cooperation is an important element of the Stabilisation and Association process. We welcome Serbia's improved bilateral relations with its neighbours and its active efforts to foster reconciliation and further develop regional cooperation.
We also hope to see the dialogue with Kosovo still deliver additional substantial results and we expect the next round of the dialogue in late September to bring further agreements.
We have also been clear with Serbia that the recognition of Kosovo is not a formal condition of the European integration process, but what matters is to achieve the normalisation of Serbia's relations with Kosovo over time."