Monday, December 16, 2013

Ashton: Serbia meets all requirements for negotiations

12/16/2013 5:09:00 PM
BRUSSELS - EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton will inform the EU foreign ministers on Tuesday that Serbia has met all requirements for the opening of the EU accession negotiations and urge them to open the talks, Tanjug learned after seeing Ashton's report.

  “As I asked you last June, so I would also ask you today to recognize that, as this report demonstrates, the two sides have implemented substantially all the elements in the April agreement,” reads the speech that Ashton has prepared for Tuesday's meeting of the General Affairs Council in Brussels. In the five-page document, which describes the progress in the implementation of the first agreement on normalization of the Belgrade-Pristina relations, Ashton explains in detail all that has been achieved to date in a number of areas including holding of the local elections in Kosovo, police and the IBM. 

 As for judiciary, the topic on which Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo Prime Minister Hasim Taci failed to reach an agreement last Friday, Ashton said that “further work needs to be done on the premises in the Mitrovica region as well as on the precise number of judicial staff in those premises”. “The Kosovo Judiciary will continue to operate as an integrated judiciary with one Supreme Court, one Appellate Court, one Basic Court and one Basic Prosecution Office for the Mitrovica region. Kosovo Serb judicial staff will be integrated in all Kosovo structures at all levels for the first time,” the document reads. “From the above it is clear that Serbia has delivered on all key elements, in particular by accepting one Basic Court and one Basic Prosecution Office for the Mitrovica region,” the EU High Representative said. 

 “Does this mean that all the work is done now and we can call it “case closed”? Of course not. Normalization does not happen overnight and the agreements of the magnitude of the April Agreement take time to digest,” Ashton will say in her Tuesday's address. “The two parties and I will continue to follow up and develop this process further,” Ashton said. The EU foreign ministers will determine on Tuesday the date of the first EU-Serbia intergovernmental conference and adopt the framework for the accession negotiations. Photo Tanjug Video

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