Minister Mrkic gives an interview to “Kurir”
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OEBSSerbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic is confident that Serbia is the next to become an EU Member State. Mrkic said that his conviction was based on the statements made by the states that had already joined the European family, observing with a critical eye that much remained to be done along that path. "I firmly believe in this. My belief rests mainly upon the friendship and support expressed by our partners from the EU and I know that we will not disappoint them."

Q: How much remains to be done before we reach this goal?

A: "Very much indeed." However, it is important that it is not understood as a burden. It is not enforced or hard labour. In all phases of the process, we are actually working for our own good. It is not a matter of shaping up but improvement of our own health, quality and broadening of the foundations for a better future of our coming generations".

Q: You are drawing up new criteria for Serbian ambassadors abroad. They will be expected to deliver and those who do not fulfil these expectations will be recalled after a period of one year?

A: "That is correct. We can no longer afford the luxury of having our ambassadors and other diplomats live a comfortable life without producing specific results. And all these results are quite measurable. It is understood that expectations from all ambassadors are not the same. However, in every country, our diplomatic/consular missions (DCMs) can contribute to the efforts towards our country's economic development. In the coming period, oversight will be intensified of the activity of our DCMs in protecting the interests of our citizens abroad. None of our citizens will be denied assistance and all their concerns should also be the concerns of our DCMs. I take this opportunity to call on all our citizens living abroad to contact my office immediately if they are dissatisfied with the work of any of our officers or their treatment by the DCM."

Q: You have set up a working group to control ambassadorial expenditures. What are the results achieved so far? Have any irregularities already been identified and where?

A: "It would be premature to discuss all the findings of our working group, because this requires patience and thorough examination. It is important, however, that we have already seen rationalization of expenses and savings in a number of segments of our work".

Q: Can changes of ambassadors be expected soon and which ones?

A: "You will understand that it would neither be appropriate nor diplomatic, if I were to announce ambassador replacements through the media. Each proposal of mine is the subject of serious consideration of the Government as a whole and particularly of our President Tomislav Nikolic, who is solely authorized to appoint and recall our highest representatives to foreign countries".

Q: You said that there was room in the Foreign Ministry for your predecessor Vuk Jeremic, upon his return from the USA. Have you talked to him about that?

A: "That is a hypothetical question. I have made no plans with Vuk Jeremic.
He represents Serbia while presiding over the UN General Assembly and it is natural that we communicate. As long as he is the President of the UN General Assembly, he is in the service of our state and our Government."

Q: In what position would he be helpful?

A: "There is a wide range of positions, but it would be more appropriate to put this question to him."

Q: What is your assessment of the Serbia – US relations?

A: "Our bilateral relations are exceptionally good. There is an increasing amount of understanding; our communication is intensive and our political contacts are continuous... All in all, I don't recall when we had such relations with Washington. We are very much satisfied with this and we are firmly resolved to deepen and enrich these relations in every respect".
Tags: Ivan Mrkic