Minister Dacic in talks with Christian Danielsson

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic had talks today with Christian Danielsson, Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.

In the talks, they reaffirmed that the future of the Republic of Serbia belonged in the European Union, stressing the reform process and activities carried out by the Serbian Government were on good track. Both sides expressed satisfaction that two more negotiating chapters would be opened on 27 February at the 5th EU-Serbia Intergovernmental Conference, namely Chapter 20 (Industrial policy and entrepreneurship) as well as Chapter 26 (Education and culture) that would be closed immediately upon opening. The dynamic of the accession process was assessed as stable, seeing that Serbia will soon have opened a total of eight negotiating chapters, while two more chapters would remain proviosionally closed.

The officials also discussed further European integration and opening of new chapters in the period to come. Minister Dacic stressed Serbia’s expectation that the accession process would be continued and accelerated in the coming period, because Serbia had demonstrated a high reform capacity as well as strong administrative capacities. He pointed out that the approach to assess Serbia’s progress in the accession talks solely through the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, the success of which depended on the readiness of both sides to act in the interest of stability, was counterproductive and not sustainable in the long run. In this way, the significance of comprehensive reforms carried out in the accession process was being downplayed and greater importance attached to political issues.

Among the topics discussed in the talks was the situation in the region, particularly in the light of the fact that today, on Bakir Izetbegovic’s decision, an application was filed to the International Court of Justice, without consent of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to revise the ICJ judgment concerning the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. the Republic of Serbia. Minister Dacic underlined Serbia’s commitment to regional cooperation and preservation of regional cooperation as well as the necessity for other stakeholders in the region to act in the same manner. He underlined that Serbia’s policy concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina in the previous period made no negative contribution whatsoever in this context and that, on the contrary, Serbia did everything to promote overall relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such a step by the Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, was in direct contravention of the efforts aimed at comprehensive reconciliation in the region. He estimated that it was not only the stability of Bosnia-Herzegovina being threatened, but also that of the whole region thus sliding back into the past, instead of pragmatically looking forward into the future, on the basis of common interests. Serbia is deeply saddened by such developments and would undertake all measures to protect its interests and the interests of the Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In the talks, the Head of Serbian diplomacy underlined that Serbia would remain consistent in its policy of good-neighbourly relations and reconciliation in the region, which it had pursued so far, but would not allow any humiliation or acts of hostility against the Serb people. In this context, he referred to the situation in Croatia, informing his interlocutor that Serbia had on several occasions been compelled to react to flagrant attempts of revisionism of Ustasha and Nazi politics carried out during the NDH, implying retaliation against anything related toSerbia, and which the Croatian authorities made no attempt to put an end to. The Minister stressed that this was not just the issue concerning persons belonging to the Serb community in Croatia, but first and foremost an issue of values and principles at the very core of the EU that an EU Member State needed to adhere to.

At the meeting they also discussed the incoming Western Balkans Summit, to be held in the framework of the “Berlin Process” in Trieste on 12 July.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic informed his interlocutor about the activities in the framework of the “Connectivity Agenda”, regional youth cooperation, as well as the initiative that the Summit should discuss strengthening of economic integration in the region.