EU Ministers Give Green Light for Serbia Accession Talks

from BalkanInsight.com..

By B92, Tanjug | Belgrade

June 25, 2013

EU foreign ministers have recommended to the European Council to grant Serbia the date of EU accession talks in January 2014 the latest but the final decision will be made by heads of state on Friday.

The EU General Affairs Council, which comprises the foreign ministers of the member states, unanimously recommended in Luxembourg on Tuesday that Serbia begin EU membership negotiations early next year.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said the talks would begin in January “at the very latest” and perhaps “as early as October.”

However, a formal decision to open EU-Serbia talks will be handed down by EU heads of state and government on Friday.

According to Fuele, the EU would also formally adopt a mandate to start talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo on Friday.

“This is a good day for both,

“They have exceeded our expectations in putting their relations on a new footing,” Fuele said.

The EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and the EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele on June 21 sent a joint letter to EU member countries seeking a positive decision on the start of accession talks with Serbia.

The four-page letter noted that Belgrade and Pristina have made significant progress in their relations, which was the main condition posed by the European Council last December in connection with Serbia’s accession talks.

An EU-brokered deal on normalisation relations with Kosovo was struck on April 19 while an action plan for the deal was agreed in May.

Germany in particular insisted on the matter being resolved before a date for talks with Serbia was offered.

On April 21, the European Commission recommended opening negotiations on Serbian membership of the European Union. Serbia obtained EU candidate status in March 2012.

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