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Brussels, 24 November 2011

Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Ivica Dačić

"Today I met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Ivica Dačić to review the current state of play in the European agenda in Serbia, the implementation of agreements reached in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and a number of issues in the area of justice, freedom and security. Our meeting took place two weeks before the Council of Foreign Ministers and the European Council will examine the Commission's recommendation of granting Serbia candidate status as explained in its Opinion on Serbia's membership application adopted on 12 October.

I acknowledged the commitment of the Serbian leadership to the European integration process and expressed encouragement at the latest positive developments in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

I emphasised the continuing expectation of the European Union that the dialogue is now actively pursued, that it leads to tangible results by identifying practical solutions for the benefit of the  people. I also took note of recent steps in the implementation of agreements reached to date in the dialogue and expressed expectation that other steps will follow swiftly and allow as soon as possible for effective implementation of all agreements. These steps are essential in order for the Commission's recommendation to be positively received by member states in view of their decisions in December.

As regards the fight against organised crime and corruption, I commended the recent progress and encouraged the Serbian authorities to double their efforts. In particular, Serbia needs to continue building a solid track record of investigations and convictions, including in high level cases. I also recalled the importance to deploy all efforts to tackle any abuses of the visa free system through unfounded asylum applications, including long-term measure for socio-economic inclusion of vulnerable groups of which the Roma.    

Finally,  we exchanged  views on the current political climate in Serbia. In this respect, I underlined our expectations that the pre-election campaigning in Serbia  should be led in a constructive and responsible manner, in line with Serbia's European aspirations.''

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