Fuele, Ashton Praise Serbia’s EU Membership Progress

World | May 5, 2014, Monday // 14:26| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Fuele, Ashton Praise Serbia’s EU Membership Progress EU commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fuele, speaks during a press conference after talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic in Belgrade, Serbia, 05 May 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Top European Union officials have praised Serbia's progress towards accession into the EU.

The EU's Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele commended the Balkan country's efforts during a meeting with President Tomislav Nikolic in Belgrade.

"A few days ago we marked the tenth anniversary of the biggest enlargement of the EU. Back in 2004, European integration of Serbia seemed like the distant future and today it is an apparent certainty. I am convinced that Serbia has the ability to turn that possibility into reality", Fuele commented.

Serbia officially began EU accession talks in January, a process which is expected to take some 5-6 years. One of the main challenges remains its neighborly relations with Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, but has not been recognized by Belgrade. Nonetheless, the two governments signed a historic deal in April 2013, pledging to normalize relations.

Earlier, the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also praised Serbia for the progress it has made, during her visit on April 28. Both Ashton and Fuele encouraged the newly elected Serbian government to push forward with the key reforms. On his part, President Nikolic agreed that it is now fully up to Serbia to conduct effectively all the necessary steps for joining the EU.

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Tags: Serbia, Stefan Fuele, European Union, EU, Catherine Ashton, Tomislav Nikolic, kosovo
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