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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Boris Tadić, President of Serbia

Press point

Brussels, 28 February 2012

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to welcome once again President Boris Tadić to the European Commission. We just had a very positive, open and friendly conversation.

Indeed, I believe we are very close to having good news. A great majority of Member States are in favour of granting Serbia candidate status. If this decision is not taken today, we expect it to be decided at the coming European Council. Indeed it should be taken not later than the next European Council: Serbia deserves the candidate status. That has been already for some time the opinion of the European Commission.

I would like to highlight President Tadić´s personal and political commitment to reach this important goal. His leadership has been critical.

As I said to President Tadić, this will not be the end of the road. There is further progress that we should expect.

We want to see Serbia firmly in the EU's integration path and I reaffirmed to President Tadić our commitment to our enlargement policy. It is important that Serbia remains committed to an ambitious reform agenda and to its dialogue with Pristina. Only concrete steps and results will allow our relationship to develop further. Serbia holds the key to deepen our ties and to its own progress.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In this period of great economic challenges, we must not forget the importance of our Enlargement policy. This truly European policy has been an anchor for stability, a driver for democracy and the rule of law, and a catalyst for economic prosperity. I am convinced that a credible Enlargement policy remains our most effective tool to reinforce stability and prosperity in South Eastern Europe – and this is, therefore, not only in the interest of the countries of the South Eastern Europe but also of the European Union as a whole. So the enlargement policy should continue.

Mr President, dear friend, the road that lies ahead is demanding. Yet, I am confident that the political will that made Serbia reach this stage will continue and that your country will be successful in your journey towards a common future with our European Union.

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