German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Belgrade, on Sept. 13, that Serbia had produced a series of results in reforms, but that both Serbia and the entire region still had a long way to go to membership in the EU.

I know that the perception is that the process of EU integration is going slowly and that the EU is making new demands, but we do see a series of results and we do see progress. Care is being taken that the same conditions are required of all West Balkan countries, Merkel told a joint news conference after meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić .

She went on to say that the EU had a great geostrategic interest in seeing all West Balkan states admitted into the bloc, and warned of possible influences from other areas if the EU did not act quickly enough in certain situations. She encouraged Serbia to make further strides toward being a 'Rechtsstaat' and a pluralistic society, adding that economic successes should indicate that EU membership is a worthwhile goal.

Merkel said that the Kosovo question has to be closed before Serbia enters the EU, but that before that all the other open questions in the process of EU integration have to be solved.

Asked whether the recognition of Kosovo is a precondition for Serbia's EU membership, she said that "certain questions have to be solved at the end off the process" of Serbia's EU integration.

President Vučic said that he was against freezing the clash between Belgrade and Pristina, adding that he knew "no-one in Serbia will be glad" to hear that.

"I think it's good for that problem to be solved by this generation instead of us leaving it to another. But it has to be a compromise solution, not a solution that will be humiliating and defeating for Serbia," Vučić said.

Vučić stressed that he was aware that resolving the Belgrade-Pristina relationship would be the basis for Serbia's admission into the EU.

"We are always willing to talk about every possible compromise solution, to offer them, to talk about them, to regulate our relations first to have a completely free flow of goods, people, services, capital. To bring each other closer, and then I'm sure that some form of compromise solution will be closer for both sides," Vučić said.

On Sept. 14, Merkel will travel to Tirana, where she will meet with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. This will be followed by a lunch with the heads of all six Western Balkan governments, after which Merkel will separately meet with the prime ministers of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Kosovo.

Serbian interior Minister meets Russian Security council secretary in Moscow. Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin on Sept. 13 met with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of Russia, in Moscow, the ministry announced in a press release.

The two officials stressed that relations and cooperation between their countries were at an exceptional level thanks to the personal relationship between the two presidents, Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vučić.

Vulin voiced "Serbia's and its security structures' complete readiness to continue successful cooperation with Russian counterparts with a view to strengthening security in our countries," and to continue fighting organized and cyber crime, drug trafficking, smuggling and terrorism.

He reiterated Serbia's commitment to military neutrality and said Serbia would never be the soil whence attacks or campaigns against Russia and its leadership would be launched.

Source: Beta/EURACTIV.rs
Photo: Beta