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Kosovo is key element of entire Serbia's EU accession process – James Ker-Lindsay

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LONDON – The start of Serbia’s accession talks with the EU is an important event, but the country’s government has to commit itself to making painful reforms as soon as possible, British expert for the Balkans James Ker-Lindsay has said.

James-Ker-Lindsay

The government needs to be honest with the people about the accession process. The start of talks with the EU is a momentous occasion, but it marks just the start of what will be a very long and difficult process, he told Tanjug.

The government needs to commit itself to making painful reforms as quickly as possible without playing politics, he noted.

Although the accession process is often referred to as a negotiation, this is not correct, he said, explaining that the reality was that there was very little to negotiate.

“The only room for manoeuvre really concerns when the laws must be enacted. In some cases there is room for delays. However, it is extremely rare that a full exemption is given,” he pointed out.

“In the years ahead, almost every aspect of life in Serbia will be affected as hundreds of new laws will have to be passed to ensure that Serbia meets the conditions of membership,” he added.

“While the vast majority of these laws will eventually lead to significant improvements in the day-to-day life of Serbian citizens, many of the measures will not be popular,” he stated.

The government will need to be prepared for this, he stressed, adding that Kosovo would be the key element of the entire accession process, and that important talks would be required in order to find a solution to that.

However, the Kosovo issue is just one of a number of difficult problems Serbia will face, he underscored.

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