Nikolic: Serbia Wants to Join EU Early 2014

Serbia would like to join the European Union during the Greek EU Presidency in the first half of 2014, stated Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic.

In an interview for Greek paper Kathimerini ahead of his visit to Athens Friday, Nikolic has said that Serbia is very grateful to Greece and Cyprus, which currently holds the EU Presidency, for their consistent support for Serbia’s EU bid.

“We are also thankful to Greece for its principled poisition regarding the issue of Kosovo. A country with political experience dating back thousands of years knows that this is an issue not only for Serbia, but also for the whole region,” added Nikolic.

Greece and Cyprus, together with Romania, Slovakia and Spain, are the only EU member states to have not recognized the independence of Kosovo.

At the same time, Nikolic has added that “no one in the EU” has set to Serbia recognizing Kosovo as a condition for membership.

The Serbian President explained that EU membership is a choice of strategic importance for his country, which would nevertheless not enfeeble its traditional very strong ties with Russia.

An accession date in the first half of 2014 is however not completely realistic, as Serbia and the EU have not yet opened any of the 33 negotiation chapters.

A new Greek EU Presidency is not to be expected before 2021.

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