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Belgrade, 18 July 2013
Remarks by Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić
I just had a warm and fruitful discussion with President Nikolić at the end of my visit to Serbia, where I met with the Serbian Government, visited the Parliament and visited the Serbian Euro-Integration Office.
I have congratulated President Nikolić on Serbia's historic achievement: the opening of accession negotiations with the European Union.
We went through the next immediate steps in the negotiation process. As announced earlier, next week we will present the draft negotiating framework to our Member States. In September, the screening process will start – just after the summer break. Today, we began preparing Serbian officials for the negotiation process, with an important first seminar in the Palace of Serbia.
We also discussed the contribution that Serbia will continue to make to regional cooperation and lasting reconciliation. Both President Nikolić and I attended the ceremonies marking Croatia’s accession in Zagreb at the beginning of the month. I am encouraged by the president's intention to pursue with resolve and clarity of vision this positive approach in the coming period.
I have reassured President Nikolić that we will spare no effort in assisting Serbia in meeting the EU accession criteria. The accession process requires continuity and determination. I have full confidence in Serbia's capacity to deliver on this ambitious goal.