Belgrade, January 12, 2012
SERBIA - EU
EP CALLS ON EU LEADERS TO APPROVE SERBIA'S EU CANDIDACY
BRUSSELS, Jan. 11 (Beta) - The European Parliament (EP) is calling on the European Council to approve Serbia's European Union candidate status in March "under the assumption that the Serbian authorities will have by then met the conditions determined at the meeting of EU leaders in December 2011."
This was said on Jan. 11 in a draft European Parliament resolution, which the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs will discuss in Brussels on Jan. 12. That document should, after another two discussions, be adopted by the EU Parliament at its plenary session in early March.
The draft resolution states that the European Parliament, bearing in mind the European Commission's October 2011 opinion on Serbia's progress, believes that Serbia's accession talks "should begin as soon as possible, demonstrating the EU's commitment to the country's [Serbia] prospect of joining the EU."
Because, the resolution underscores, the European Parliament "believes that the key priorities which the European Commission specified in its opinion have been realized, and that reforms are continuing" in Serbia.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT NORTH KOSOVO
BRUSSELS, Jan. 11 (Beta) - The European Parliament (EP) expressed on Jan. 11 serious concern about the situation in northern Kosovo and the violence that took place during the second half of last year and underscored again that "only solutions reached through talks in the dialog between Belgrade and Pristina could permanently ease tensions."
This was said in the European Parliament's draft resolution on "the European Integration of Serbia," which the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs will discuss on Jan. 12 and which should be reviewed by the EU Parliament at its plenary session at the start of March.
In the resolution the European Parliament "welcomes the agreements reached so far and calls on the Serbian government to implement them fully and without delay."
The regular flow of goods made possible by accepting customs stamps, the delivery of 10,000 copies of registries by the Serbian authorities to EULEX and the implementation of the agreement on free movement as of Dec. 26, 2011, were mentioned as the first steps toward the implementation of the agreements reached in the dialog between Belgrade and Pristina.
In the document, the European Parliament welcomes Serbian President Boris Tadic's statements on the necessity of removing the barricades, and asking for freedom of movement for people, goods, ideas and capital as key values of the EU.
EP MOSTLY POSITIVE ABOUT SERBIA
BRUSSELS, Jan. 12 (Beta) The European Parliament (EP) Foreign Affairs Committee supported Thursday the draft resolution on Serbia's European integration urging approval of Serbia's EU candidate status in March.
The draft resolution was presented by EP Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin, who said that Serbia deserves to obtain both the EU candidate status and a date for the beginning of the accession talks. Practically none of the Committee members expressed misgivings about Serbia's candidate status, although certain MPs were reserved in terms of the data of the negotiations.
MP Doris Pack said during the debate that it is understandable that Germany and a few more countries postponed Serbia's candidate status in December after their soldiers in north Kosovo were attacked. Serbia should be granted the candidate status, but no date for the beginning of talks, Pack said.
Kacin said that if the EU wants to see genuine progress in Serbia, it should launch the accession talks as soon as possible and open Chapters 23 and 24 addressing judiciary and human rights. Kacin's recommendations were accepted in principle by a great majority of the MPs.
MP Eduard Kukan, who chairs the EP Friendship Group with Serbia, told journalists after the debate that he was pleasantly surprised by the proSerbian stand of his colleagues, I am a total optimist that Serbia will get the EU candidate status in May, Kukan said.
After the debate, Kacin told journalists that he was satisfied with the reception of the draft resolution. I expect that the Committee will adopt the amended text of the resolution on March 1 as that would have a positive effect on the European Council, which is to decide on Serbia's candidacy on the same day, he said.
Serbia should now commit to implementation of the agreements reached in the dialogue with Pristina so far, Kacin said. The members of the Committee will submit amendments to the draft resolution by the end of the month and discuss them on February 29. The final version will be adopted on March 1.
KACIN: SERBIA DESERVES EU CANDIDATE STATUS
BELGRADE, Jan. 12 (Tanjug) - European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur Jelko Kacin stated Wednesday that, apart from the EU candidate status, Serbia also deserves to obtain the date for the beginning of negotiations, adding that it is important for the most significant agreements in the dialogue with Pristina to be implemented.
Kacin told the Radio Television of Vojvodina that EP will today discuss the draft resolution on Serbia's EU integration which will enter procedure, adding that the final deadline for submitting amendments is 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 needs it.
When asked if the decision on the candidate status could be influenced by a referendum in northern Kosovo, Kacin said it is 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, Kacin 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.
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
IVANOVIC: SERBIAN GOVT ON WAY TO SOLUTION FOR KIM
BELGRADE, Jan 12 (Tanjug) State Secretary at the Ministry for Kosovo Metohija (KiM) Oliver Ivanovic stated Thursday that the Serbian government is preparing a regulation on the recognition of diplomas, based on the agreement achieved in the Belgrade Pristina dialogue.
The ones that are currently the most interested in the resolution of this issue are ethnic Albanians from the south of Serbia, Ivanovic told Tanjug, adding that Serbs from KiM may face similar problems in the future, particularly those living south of the Ibar River.
"Albanians from the south of Serbia, especially those from Bujanovac and Presevo, often encounter problems while looking for jobs because the procedure of recognition of diplomas obtained in Pristina was complicated and lasted too long," Ivanovic underlined.
The Serbs could have similar problems, particularly those south of the Ibar River, therefore the Serbian government is ready to face potential problems by offering solutions to such situations in advance, he stressed. Recalling that problems with licence plates have occurred only recently, Ivanovic pointed out that it is better to face possible problems in advance and offer solutions.
He said that the recently achieved agreement between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels and the provision prepared by the Serbian government are a way towards preventing unpleasant situations or problems. Ivanovic recalled that all agreements reached in Brussels are ratified by the Serbian government. "After that the government binds itself to prepare bylaws regulating the implementation of agreements reached in the Belgrade Pristina dialogue," Ivanovic explained.
HODZAJ: AHTISAARI PLAN BEST FRAMEWORK FOR SERBS
PODGORICA, Jan. 11 (Tanjug) - Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hodzaj said on Wednesday that the implementation of the Martti Ahtisaari plan represents the best framework regarding the rights of Serbs in northern Kosovo.
I believe that the implementation of the Ahtisaari plan is the best framework for the integration of Serbs in three northern Kosovo municipalities, Hodzaj told journalists in Podgorica after talks with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen.
This plan offers the broadest possible range of rights for Serbs in Kosovo, that is the greatest possible rights a minority community can get in anywhere in Europe, he said.
Hodjaj is also of the opinion that a majority of Serbs have been integrated into the Kosovo society.