Serbian President Boris Tadić: Serbia can join EU in 2016 at earliest

Serbian President Boris Tadić says Serbia can join the EU in 2016 at the earliest, but that it could come a lot later if reforms in are carried out at a slow pace.

“The earliest possible date of Serbia’s EU accession is 2016, on condition that negotiations start late in 2011 or early in 2012. However, if reforms and laws are implemented at a slow pace, the country will join the EU much later,” Tadić told reporters after participating at the conference “Serbia on the road to Europe – 10 years after”.

The president explained that the negotiations regarding all aspects of EU membership can take some time and that the shortest EU integration process ever, which was recorded with Slovakia, lasted nearly 5 years.

“Serbia’s advantage is that it can learn from the negative experiences of the countries which have already walked the same path, and thus shorten the process of our EU integration,” Tadić noted.

He pointed out that Serbia has its own specific problems, such as the Kosovo issue.

The president warned that Serbia cannot join the EU burdened with a historic conflict, since Europe already has a number of unresolved issues such as Cyprus and Northern Ireland.

Tadić assessed that the participation of his Democratic Party (DS) in the government is one of the prerequisites for EU membership, since it was DS, as he said, that prevented the focus being shifted from Europe onto some other political goals.

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