The European enlargement project remains unfinished as long as the Balkan jigsaw has missing pieces, of which Serbia is one. Near the end of the queue of aspirants until recently, Belgrade’s arrest of indicted war criminals has improved Serbia’s image. But the country remains a difficult fit for people like Lucille.
She asked U-talk: “We know that Serbia is an official candidate for EU membership, but what are its chances of joining?”
The European Commission’s Peter Stano, who handles Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, replied:
“Serbia, as every other candidate country, has a chance of course, even a perspective to enter the EU once all the conditions and obligations are met.
“Serbia was granted a candidate status on the 1st of March which was a very important step in recognition of all the reform efforts Serbia was doing until now, but now after getting candidate status actually the really hard work begins because you need not only to carry on with the reform efforts, but step them up, in order to be able to open the negotiations on the accession which is basically the next logical step.
“Only afterwards, when you start to negotiate, can you basically speak about a country entering the European Union, which is a process that takes a lot of time.
“So instead of focusing on time frames and saying a date by which Serbia could enter the EU, I would say, Serbia can enter the EU as soon as all the obligations and criteria for the membership are met, as soon as the reforms are being delivered on, and as soon as all the member states of the European Union are of unanimous agreement that Serbia can enter. Basically the performance of Serbia is in its own hands.”
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