Friday

30th Sep 2016

EU presses Serbia on reform

  • Herman Van Rompuy encouraged Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dačić to step up reforms. (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy Tuesday (4 September) encouraged Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dačić to step up reforms on its path to EU membership and open up greater dialogue with Kosovo.

“A visible and sustainable improvement of relations with Kosovo remains a key requirement for the next step, the start of EU accession negotiations,” said Rompuy in a statement after their meeting in Brussels.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Serbia’s EU candidate status was granted in March. It is required to enact a number of political reforms concerning its judiciary, the fight against corruption and organised crime.

Serbian lawmakers adopted amendments in March that give its parliament supervisory power over the central bank. The move drew criticism from the European Commission.

Rompuy also stressed the need for structural reforms to attract business and help alleviate Serbia’s unemployment.

But its relations with Kosovo remain difficult as tensions between the ethnic Serbs and Kosovar Albanians continue to flair sporadically along the border.

Serbia, along with five EU member states, refuses to recognise Kosovo’s independence. While Serbia is required to normalise relations with Kosovo to gain EU membership, it does not have to recognise it as an independent state.

Mixed messages on Kosovo

Dačić, who was appointed prime minister in July, also met Martin Schulz, EU parliament president, and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele.

Dačić assured Schulz that Serbia will aim to promote stability and security in the region including in its relations with Pristina.

“I underlined the strong commitment of the Serbian government to continue on its European path and to fulfil all the criteria,” said Dačić.

The statement was followed by Schulz who told reporters that the “EU as a whole is asking Serbia to recognise Kosovo. We have also to make our homework within the EU. So it is easy to understand that this is one of the most difficult and delicate questions for both sides for the time being.”

Schulz was later “corrected” by the EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele who said the EU had adopted conclusions in December that would not require Serbia to recognise Kosovo.

Analysis

Serbia and the convenient spy

The manufactured cold war between Croatia and Serbia has been a convenient distraction from some of Serbia's domestic problems.

Opinion

EU's Kosovo meddling risks Balkans chaos

The EU and the US are is unfairly pressuring Kosovo to ratify a border deal with Montenegro against the will of the opposition. It could bring trouble to the Western Balkans region.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAFinTech Boom Needs Strong Guidance to Navigate Regulatory Hurdles
  2. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  4. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  5. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  6. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  7. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  8. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  9. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  10. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  11. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  12. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice