During her visit to Belgrade, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic to discuss the Report on Serbia.

Following her meeting with President Vucic, addressing the joint press conference, Mogherini said that the message she brought was not only aimed at Belgrade, but also at the entire Western Balkans region.

“The perspective towards the European Union, in particular for these four countries, for Serbia and Montenegro, is credible, real and tangible. I would like to stress here the work that Serbia has done is proceeding in the right direction. It is clear that negotiations with Serbia are advancing well on the European Union integration path of the country, with 12 out of 35 chapters open in negotiations and the good prospect of opening further chapters under the current Bulgarian Presidency of the European Union. I am impressed by the energy, the commitment, the ambitions and the willingness everywhere to move forward on the reform path. Obviously, we are known in the European Commission for being strict, so the progress report also indicates areas where further work is needed,” Mogherini said.

She said she knew that the President and the government are fully aware of the areas where this work is needed. “And I am sure of not only his determination and political commitment, but also of the determination and the political commitment of the entire government to make swift progress in the coming period also in these areas,” Mogherini noted.

Mogherini said they also discussed the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. “We have a new phase in the dialogue towards the objective to achieve a legally binding agreement on normalisation of relations and we have also looked at the implementation of the agreements already reached in the dialogue. It is high time for the full implementation of all the agreements achieved. I see this as the most credible basis for further work to be done on the new phase of the dialogue. A lot of work is still needed, including on the establishment of the Association/Community of the Serb Municipalities and also the implementation of the Energy Agreement.”

Mogherini said the European Union was the biggest trading partner of Serbia. Almost 80 per cent of foreign direct investment comes from the European Union Mogherini said and cited President Vucic saying that 65 per cent of Serbian exports go to the European Union. She described the forthcoming Summit in Sofia as important and said she hoped it would give new impetus to deeper cooperation in the region.

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia would work to advance the rule of law as it would increase legal certainty and investment opportunities further.

Areas considered by the European Commission as fields where Serbia made limited or no progress were also part of the discussion, Vucic said. We did not agree on all issues, Vucic noted, adding that he is “very concerned about Kosovo” which was also among the topics on the agenda.

“I am certain and I hope that, with the support of Mrs. Mogherini and others, we will outflank all challenges and obstacles on our path,” Vucic said.

What pleases me most is the economy part of the Report and the results we achieved in that area, he said.

Before meeting with Vucic and Brnabic, Federica Mogherini also met with representatives of the civil society.