EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn reassured Serbian officials on Wednesday (July 22nd) that the European Commission (EC) is committed to bringing Serbia into the EU, once the country meets its obligations to the UN war crimes tribunal. After a meeting with President Boris Tadic, Rehn added that Serbia should deepen regional co-operation. Tadic, in turn, described EU membership as Serbia’s most important strategic goal. He told Rehn that Belgrade will implement the EU-required reforms and will try to meet the remaining conditions in order to be included in the visa-free regime as of next January.
From Belgrade, Rehn travelled to Podgorica where he delivered a questionnaire on democratic reforms and implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Montenegro. Podgorica must reply to more than 2,100 questions. Based on those answers, the EU will assess Montenegro’s readiness for membership.
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic called the moment a historic turning point for Montenegro. He will meet with EC President Jose Manuel Barroso and EC Vice-President Jacques Barrot on Thursday in Brussels to discuss further steps in the country’s European integration process. Montenegro hopes to obtain candidate status next year and open accession talks by 2011.