Tuesday, October 4, 2011

EU is Serbia's best option, despite crisis

The European Union (EU) is in crisis, but still represents the best option for Serbia, participants of the international Economic Summit that is being held in Belgrade said Monday.

Former Serbian ambassador to the U.S. Ivan Vujacic said he was confident that the EU would overcome the crisis it was currently facing and that the Union was still the best option for Serbia.

The membership in the Union will be the crown of the efforts made in the process, said Vujacic. The key changes take place in the pre-accession process, which highlights the importance of the candidacy, especially if Serbia gets the date for the beginning of the negotiations soon, Vujacic addded.

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick said that Serbia should get integrated in the European and global institutional frameworks, adding that the U.S. supported Belgrade's efforts toward the EU accession. She said that Serbia should be proud of its achievements in 2011 and congratulated Belgrade on the successful completion of its cooperation with The Hague Tribunal and the implementation of the Action Plan.

Konrad Adenauer Foundation Regional Director Henri Bohnet said that Serbia needed an open debate on the EU and the advantages of joining the Union over the cooperation with Russia and China.

Polish Ambassador to Serbia Andrzej Jasionovski said a normalization of relations with Kosovo was a condition for Serbia to join the EU and called on Belgrade to cooperate with EULEX and KFOR instead of hindering their activities. He stressed the EU did not want a potential new member country to bring with them an arena of unresolved conflicts and other issues.

CEO of the Budapest-based Political Capital Institute Jozsef Pandur said that Serbia was on the right track, adding that he was optimistic that Serbia would get the candidacy status by year's end. Italian Ambassador to Serbia Armando Varicchio said he expected Serbia would be given the candidacy by the end of 2011 and that the date for commencement of the accession negotiations should be set soon after that.

Turkish Ambassador in Belgrade Ali Riza Colak said Serbia was a key player in the Western Balkans, adding that Serbia and Turkey had an excellent cooperation.

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