Serbia, EU open accession talks

More than two years after beginning of negotiations, European Union is set to start accession talks with Serbia

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn pose at an EU-Serbia association council meeting on December 14, 2015 at the European Council in Brussels.

More than two years after the beginning of negotiations for European Union accessions, Serbia launches accession talks with EU and EU opened the first two of the 35 stages to join the EU bloc on Monday.

"At last the first chapters have been opened," said Jean Asselborn, the foreign minister of Luxembourg which holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

Details of the Monday conference was about the economical situation of Serbia and the issue of Kosovo. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s independence from itself since 2008.

In chapter 35, EU proposes that Serbia ensure normalisation of relations with Kosovo, and chapter 32 is regarding financial controls.

Over 100 countries worldwide including most of the EU countries -23 of its 28 members-, except those who struggle with nationalistic claims within territories, recognise Kosovo’s independence.

In efforts to resolve the refugee crisis that has been an issue since the start of 2015 , EU officials have begun to talk moreso about the Serbia accession. Because the almost 94,000 refugees, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, who have tried to make the move to more affluent and secure EU countries, have been registered in Serbia. This role of Serbia could be the most substantial element in opening the accession in order to join the bloc.

"This is an important day for us," Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic said.

"We don't have to dream of Europe from now on," he said. "We will work very hard on this."

Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro are the EU candidate countries in the Balkans that were founded after the fall of Yugoslavia. Croatia, which was also a part of Yugoslavia, joined the union in 2013 as its last member.

TRTWorld and agencies