Aleksandar Vucic says he does not share David McAllister’s stance that the rule of law is the key area for Serbia’s progress on the path toward EU membership.
The Serbian president spoke during a joint news conference on Saturday in Belgrade with the chair of European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and the rapporteur for Serbia, held after their meeting in the Villa Mir.
“The key issue is Kosovo, and the second is Serbia’s stance towards Russia – not the rule of law, although Western politicians always pull that out,” Vucic told reporters and pointed out that “no one from the EU ever asks, for example, who will head the Anti-Corruption Agency.”
He also reveals that in this context, relations between Belgrade-Pristina cause “the most headache” to him.
“Only Serbia has Chapter 35 (in EU accession negotiations). That is why our internal dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija is important, because, until there is progress in relations on this issue, there will be no progress on the road to the EU,” Vucic said.
He recalled that some EU member-states, “especially in 2007, such as Bulgaria and Romania,” were no more ready for membership then than Serbia is now – “but this is a matter for the EU.”
“However, I see no other path for Serbia except the path to the EU,” Vucic concluded.
McAllister addressed the same news conference to say that Serbia will join the European Union “when it was ready.”
He pledged support to Serbia’s EU accession, but underlined that it depended on Serbia progress in opening and closing accession chapters, and added that he would like new chapters to be opened as soon as possible, but that that depended on the EU’s member-states.
Beta reported that his message to the Serbian authorities was to continue the reform process, particularly in the economy, the rule of law and struggle against corruption – that he had read Prime Minister Ana Brnabic’s platform, and that he was pleased with Serbia’s progress, which had the political support of the EU’s members, the European Commission and the European Parliament.
According to the German MEP, the Belgrade-Pristina dialog should develop “at the presidential and governmental levels,” to implement the agreements that had been made and to reach new ones.
The EU was incomplete without Serbia, McAllister said, underlining that Serbia and Montenegro were the leaders of the EU accession process, and that he would visit Serbia again later this month.