UZICE – Croatia will not be able to block Serbia’s European path if Belgrade cooperates with Brussels and has the other EU member states as its allies, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Rasim Ljajic said Thursday.

“If you have 27 countries on one side and they are your allies in the accession process, Croatia will not be able to do anything, in spite of its extremely unprincipled actions,” Ljajic told reporters in Uzice, western Serbia, in a comment on the latest threats from Croatia in the wake of the opening of Chapters 23 and 24 in Serbia’s EU accession talks.

Serbia must not get into the verbal conflict that some in Croatia are apparently trying to start, Ljajic said, noting that Serbia was always a topic of election campaigns in Croatia.

“The same was happening last year. Serbia always becomes a topic in times of elections in Croatia, with everyone trying to outdo everyone else in making statements aimed against Serbia because it brings political gains,” Ljajic said.

Serbia has an obligation to do all that is in its interest in the EU accession process in order to ensure judicial independence, accelerate court proceedings and create legal certainty for foreign investors in a more efficient way, Ljajic said.

Croatia wants Serbia to scrap its law on universal jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, and outgoing Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said Wednesday Croatia would use fierce countermeasures if Serbia arrested any Croatian citizen on war crimes charges.