Former European Council President Herman Van Rompuj told Belgrade daily Politika that the European Union remains firmly committed to encouraging Serbia on its European path because they share a common destiny.
“This is a question of elementary geography, common history and culture and the EU is constantly confirming this. The Balkans belong to the EU and have a lot to offer,” Van Rompuj said. He said that EU expansion policy is reflected in statements and the 200 million Euro a year in financial aid to help Serbia draw closer to the European family and stimulate its development potential. According to Van Rompuj, “the EU is the biggest donor to Serbia and would never invest that much energy and funds without a firm belief in the European destiny of the country”.
He said that both sides have to remain committed to the process and its goal and added that Serbia’s progress is reflected in the fact that it is constantly opening new negotiation chapters but warned that the progress achieved in some areas is not what was expected, especially in terms of rule of law. Progress in rule of law, reforming the judiciary, democracy, freedom of the media and basic values as well as the fight against corruption and organized crime can significantly speed up the process, he said.
Van Rompuj said that he hopes the new Kosovo government will create the necessary room to continue the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. “Both sides have to be willing to contribute to an appropriate environment for negotiations. Only then will room be created to find solutions which will almost inevitably be compromises,” he said.