German envoy: Serbia's pace to EU depends on corruption, media and rule of law

NEWS 03.07.2020 12:44
Source: N1

Thomas Schieb, the German ambassador to Belgrade, said Serbia's pace on the road to the European Union would depend on fighting corruption, media freedom and the rule of law, the FoNet news agency reported on Friday.

Germany took over the EU six-month presidency on July 1,

Scheib’s statement was the first coming from an EU country which did not single out the normalisation of Belgrade – Pristina dialogue as the main condition for the country’s negotiations with the bloc.

Earlier, the other conditions have been discussed, but the relations between the two capitals were seen as the major issue. 

In an interview with the European Western Balkans (EWB) website, he mentioned the dialogue but emphasised the fight against corruption, freedom of media and the rule of law.“We are ready to help as much as possible. The pace of the accession negotiations is based on those reforms, „Scheib said.

Regarding Kosovo, he said he was convinced that Belgrade and Pristina would take the „advantage of the momentum and together with the EU special envoy Miroslav Lajčák start solving the controversial issues still on the agenda.“

„I appreciate our American colleagues initiative to improve economic relations (between Belgrade and Pristina), and also the Brussels’ efforts to create an atmosphere for achieving the normalisation of relations,“ Schieb said.

According to him, Germany strongly supports the EU perspective for the entire Western Balkans and their reforms that would prepare them for the full membership.

He added the enlargement would remain on top of Berlin’s presidency and that he hoped an improvement in negotiations with Skopje and Tirana would happen soon.

„I’m convinced that accession talks with Serbia will also improve during our presidency. I encourage all relevant players in Serbia to courageously take up reforms which Belgrade committed itself to in the accession process,“ Schieb said.

He added that „as a country which is negotiating the EU membership, Serbia should share the key European values and adjust its foreign policy with that of the bloc.“