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Brussels, 21 May 2012

EUCO 91/12



Joint Statement by European Council President Van Rompuy and European Commission President Barroso on the election of Tomislav Nikolić as President of the Republic of Serbia

We would like to congratulate Mr. Nikolić on his election as President of Serbia. We also wish to congratulate the people of Serbia on their elections on 6 and 20 May which were competitive and peaceful.

We wish President Nikolić success in addressing the challenges that lie ahead and in responding to the Serbian people's huge expectations on economic growth and wellbeing.

In his new capacity, President Nikolić bears a particular responsibility in ensuring that Serbia has stable and functioning institutions. We are now looking forward to the early resumption of work in parliament and the rapid formation of the new government.

In these elections the Serbian people have given a very clear signal of support to the continued European orientation of government policy. Serbia entered these elections having freshly been granted candidate country status. Its leadership has now received a strong mandate to pursue this policy and move quickly to the next step of its European integration: the start of accession negotiations once the necessary conditions are met.

We strongly encourage President Nikolić to pursue this direction with particular determination in order to achieve the additional progress that would allow the European Commission to recommend the opening of accession negotiations and the European Council to take this decision. This will require a high sense of statesmanship to overcome the more difficult challenges. Serbia will need to continuously demonstrate its adherence to the spirit of cooperation and reconciliation in the region.

It will be essential to see the momentum of reforms continuing in order to confirm that Serbia sufficiently fulfils the political criteria, and makes further progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with a view to a visible and sustainable improvement of relations.

Serbia's European perspective is very concrete and we therefore hope to be able to rely on President Nikolić's personal dedication to achieve this aim.

We look forward to a fruitful cooperation and stand ready to discuss these important issues for Serbia and for Europe with President Nikolić.

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