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Brussels, 18 January 2013

EUCO 15/13



Press statement by the President of the European Council
Herman Van Rompuy,
following his meeting with the Prime Minister of Serbia
Ivica Dačić

It was good to meet again with Prime Minister Ivica Dačić only a day after the latest round of discussions between Belgrade and Priština in the EU facilitated dialogue. In our discussions today, I welcomed the continued commitment of the Serbian Government to the EU agenda and welcomed the efforts of the Prime Minister in the dialogue.

I commend both Prime Ministers and High Representative Ashton for the progress so far. Great challenges are ahead but I am encouraged because I saw today in Prime Minister Dačić a man with a vision for his country's future. I am convinced he will do all that he can to bring Serbia closer to the EU.

Notwithstanding the importance of the overall reform agenda, normalising the relations with Priština now remains the key requirement for Serbia and the opening of accession negotiations. This includes fully respecting the principles of inclusive regional cooperation, actively cooperating with our EULEX mission and finding solutions on the more difficult issues in northern Kosovo.

The EU will uphold its commitment to Serbia. The Council will review progress in spring with a view to a possible decision to open accession negotiations. Time is of essence. So I strongly encouraged both Prime Ministers to make the best use of this time and accelerate the work.

Again, I commend the efforts of the Prime Minister. The EU will uphold its commitment to Serbia.

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