Meeting with Suzana Grubješić, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European integration
"I am delighted to welcome to Brussels today Mrs Suzana Grubješić, the new Serbian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European integration,We had a very constructive first meeting on the priorities of the new government. I am glad to see that the new Serbian administration is now fully back at work and actively pursuing its strategic European priority. As a candidate country, Serbia is expected to continue its road to EU integration. I am encouraged to see this objective at the heart of the programme of the new Serbian government.
The European Commission will continue to advise and support Serbia in these efforts. And this is why I attach great importance to close cooperation with Mrs Grubješić in her new capacity.
I have reminded the Deputy Prime Minister of the key priority that Serbia needs to pursue towards achieving a visible and sustainable improvement of its relations with Kosovo. This is the key to the opening of accession negotiations. Only tangible and consistent progress on the key priority, including the implementation of the letter and spirit of agreements reached in the dialogue with Pristina can allow us to move ahead. After today's meeting I am reassured that Serbia's leadership is fully aware of this and very eager to make further such progress in the foreseeable future.
The wider EU agenda of reforms was also discussed. The October progress report will review Serbia's compliance with the membership criteria. The period of limited progress stemming from the elections will be factored in but I am encouraged by a number of steps already taken by the new government in order to make up for the relative slowing down and to tackle open issues with determination and responsibility.
Serbia is expected to maintain a strong focus on the rule of law: I have asked our Serbian partners to examine with great care how to bring forward the judicial reform and how to make the fight against corruption and organised crime. more effective.
Finally, I assured Mrs Grubješić that the Commission will support Serbia's efforts and help it make strategic use of IPA funds.