Remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton at the press point with PM Dačić and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after their meeting together with President Nikolić

Belgrade, 31-10-2012 — / — First of all, can I say how pleased I am to be here in Belgrade today. It is very good to be here because this follows the meetings I had with President Nikolić both in Brussels and New York, and my discussions with you, Prime Minister – I have seen you twice in the last two months, most recently about 10 days ago.

I am here today with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to express our joint commitment towards Serbia and its future in the European Union. I say again, Serbia’s future is in the EU.

In the last year Serbia has made important progress towards its European future and has become a candidate country.

Today our discussions focused on what is needed now for Serbia to move forward and to keep moving forward at a good pace. I encouraged the President and the Prime Minister to intensify reforms and judicial reforms are extremely important in that context.

As you have said, Prime Minister, we have discussed the dialogue that the EU and I are facilitating between Belgrade and Pristina. This dialogue is in the interest of both sides, with clear objectives to improve the lives of the people, to help solve problems and, in doing so it will bring Serbia and Kosovo closer to the European Union.

I chaired a joint meeting with Prime Minister Dačić and Prime Minister Thaçi in Brussels less than two weeks ago. We agreed to continue the dialogue between the two sides and we plan to meet again soon.

It is vital that all the agreements reached through this dialogue are fully enacted by both sides. We have seen real progress recently and I would like to see this to continue.

Let me stress that the dialogue with Pristina and the normalisation of relations – which is not asking for recognition – is really important. There are no other realistic or better alternatives and things will not become easier by postponing difficult decisions.

This is good for Serbia and is good for Kosovo. It is good for your future and for the everyday lives of the people in this region.

And I do thank President Nikolić who agreed that Serbia will participate in the dialogue. And to you, Prime Minister, I pay real tribute for the contribution you have already made and I know you will make in the future.

Thank you.



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