Serbia is the leader in EU integration, McAllister says

Serbia is the leader in EU integration, McAllister says

Belgrade, July 22, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mios Mitrovic

Serbia is well ahead the others in the region considering the dynamics in European integration; while the time has come for the first chapters in Serbia-EU accession talks to be opened, Belgrade has to continue with reforms, European Parliament rapporteur for Serbia said in Belgrade on Tuesday.

When asked at the media conference whether all Western Balkans countries should be integrated in EU at the same time, David McAllister said that all of them have European perspective but should not be regarded as a “convoy”. He explained that individual approach should be applied instead.

“Simultaneous accession of six regional countries into EU would not be in the interest of Serbia, because you are well ahead the other states”, McAllister underlined.

He added, however, that Serbia has to continue the reforms in economy, rule of law, media freedom – and to normalize its relations with Pristine.

McAllister – a German CDU politician – has encouraged Serbian government to keep on with privatization of state owned companies which would, in his words, make the country more competitive.

He stressed the fact that media freedom watchdogs have been concerned over the deterioration of conditions in this domain in Serbia. Serbia has dropped to 67 place at the scale of press freedom, previously being at 55, McAllister warned.

Considering Serbian foreign policy, EP’s rapporteur said that he “understands” traditionally good relations between Belgrade and Moscow. But he added that Serbia will have to harmonize its positions with those of Brussels.

Serbian-Russian military exercises were not a good signal, he emphasized.

McAllister praised, however, the “constructive” approach of Serbian Prime Minister in the region.

Finally, he called “historic” both Aleksandar Vucic’s visit to Tirana earlier this year and his recent attendance at the Srebrenica commemoration.