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Belgrade, 26 April 2013
Statement of Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolić
It is a great pleasure to be in Belgrade only one week after a major breakthrough in the dialogue with Pristina, and only few days after we have recommended the opening of the accession negotiations with Serbia.
The agreement with Pristina has sent a strong message across Europe about Serbia´s European attitude. Serbia moved beyond the past conflicts and closer to the future within Europe - fully in line with the objective we have and that is Serbia in the EU.
The deal with Pristina was possible thanks to: determination, courage, willingness to compromise, wisdom and ability to look into the future, well beyond one electoral term.
These are very European virtues. I am sure we will soon see another one: the implementation and bringing agreements from paper into practical life. Solving tough issues the European way is not making countries weaker, but stronger. Serbia is stronger now.
I want to congratulate Prime Minister Dačić and his team for the efforts to find a balanced deal, which he can proudly defend towards all citizens in the country and the region. This agreement paves the way for a better future of all people in Serbia and Kosovo.
I would like to thank President Nikolić for his support, in particular in explaining that the deal was the best possible to be reached. I also appreciate his recent remarks towards regional reconciliation. His latest statement about Srebrenica contributes to the healing of the wounds which are still open in this region.
The Member States will decide in June on our recommendation to start the accession talks. They will look for effective implementation of the deal with Pristina and also for continuation of the good efforts in other areas such as strengthening the rule of law and reforms of the judiciary and the fight against corruption, as I explained at the conference this morning.
I have no doubts that our Serbian partners can deliver on all of this.