"Serbia deserves EU candidate status"

BELGRADE -- European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur Jelko Kacin stated Wednesday Serbia deserved both the candidate status and a date for the beginning of the talks.

Jelko Kacin (Tanjug, file)
Jelko Kacin (Tanjug, file)

He added that it was important for the most significant agreements in the dialogue with Priština to be implemented.

Kacin told the Radio Television of Vojvodina that the EP would today discuss the draft resolution on Serbia's EU integration which would enter procedure, adding that the final deadline for submitting amendments was the end of the month.

“I do not know how it will turn out, but if the text was entirely up to me, it would be highly positive and give all the recommendations. However, already as of tomorrow, I expect strong objections from other political groups about what has not been fulfilled and what needs to be fixed so that Serbia would obtain the candidacy,” Kacin underlined.

He said that Serbia should also be given the date for negotiations, assessing that both Serbia and the broader region needed it.

When asked if the decision on the candidate status could be influenced by a referendum in northern Kosovo, Kacin said it was not a matter that should affect the candidate status.

According to him, the most important thing is for Belgrade to improve its image in the dialogue with EU member states by March, to implement what has been achieved in the dialogue so as to show that Belgrade is committed to the improvement of regional and neighborly relations, free flow of goods, people etc.

“If Serbia progresses and acts persuasively in the next few weeks, the candidate status should not be jeopardized,” the EP rapporteur stressed.

The EP believes Serbia should be granted the candidate status in March, under the assumption that the Serbian authorities will by then fulfill the conditions determined at the EU leaders' meeting in December 2011.