Tuesday, 03 June 2014. PDF Print E-mail
Address by FDPM and MFA Ivica Dacic at the Western Balkans Conference
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Ivica DacicAddress by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic at the Western Balkans Conference 2014, in Vienna, on the "European Perspective and Economic Situation in Western Balkan Countries".

"Distinguished Colleagues,

Full membership of the European Union is the foremost priority of the new Government of the Republic of Serbia. The Government is committed to completing its EU accession negotiations by the end of its term in 2018. In this event, we expect that Serbia could become a full-fledged EU member by 2020.

Serbia is committed to implementing reforms in all areas, especially in the fields of rule of law, home affairs, and protection of human and minority rights. We consider that the new EU approach, envisaging the opening of most difficult chapters 23 and 24 at the very start of the negotiation process, would contribute to the more rapid transformation of the state and society and acceleration of the negotiation process.

We are concerned about the voices and ideas heard within the EU that the Union needs to slow the further enlargement process. So far, the enlargement has always proved to contribute to the EU prosperity and its further internal consolidation. With each wave of enlargements, EU became stronger.

The European perspective of all the countries of the region has made a substantial impact upon the improvement of regional cooperation. Moreover, this perspective undoubtedly contributed to dealing with all pending issues in the region – from the refugee problem, borders and other issues – through dialogue. The crisis situation caused by floods has once again demonstrated the extent, strength and relevance of solidarity in the region.

European perspective is the critical factor which has enabled the success of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. The success of the dialogue showed that the EU enlargement policy continues to be a strong motivation in the Western Balkans. This example shows the international importance of the European Union as a factor capable of crisis management and substantial contribution to stability and security.

We consider that the enlargement and enhancement of EU internal structures are complementary processes, acting in synergy and contributing to the prosperity of both present EU Member States and the SAP countries.

We expect in the further enlargement process that everyone will make progress according to performance and implemented reforms. We do not expect "any favours in that respect", but we also believe that it would be counter-productive to insist on artificially consolidated pace of the European integration of aspirant countries. We expect that the countries of the Western Balkan region will continue to support each other, and that they will maintain the trend of solidarity in their approach on the path of European integration.

The new Serbian Government is ready to come to grips with demanding social and economic reforms. The economic situation in Serbia, and the region as a whole, is highly complex. Therefore, it would be appropriate if the EU considered more significant economic and financial support to the WB region. This objective could be accomplished also through the re-distribution of financial support in a way which would ensure that some of the funds intended for the Member States could be granted also during the EU accession process. We are convinced that this would not only be a cost to the Union and its citizens, but would, on the contrary, contribute to the further political stabilization and economic development of the WB region, which will be beneficial both to the Western Balkans and the EU."