Serbian leader Vucic presses EU for accession timetable
Posted July 13
THESSALONIKI, Greece — Serbia's president says his country is pressing the European Union to provide a clear timetable for his country's accession to the bloc.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, on a visit Thursday to northern Greece, said the EU had so far failed to provide to indication of when the Balkan country could join the 28-nation bloc, adding: "All we ask is that they show us respect."
Serbia formally started accession talks in January 2014.
"I'm not expecting an answer any time soon on when we'll join, but we're asking from a framework," said Vucic, who won presidential elections in April. "Tell us clearly what is expected and when it is expected by."
The EU is seeking additional governance and anti-corruption reforms from Belgrade as well as a resolution of the country's disputes with its former province of Kosovo, which became independent in 2008.
Europe, Vucic said, should "clearly say" what it is it wants from Serbia on the Kosovo issue.
EU has been mediating talks between Serbia and Kosovo, with an aim of settling tensions that have been high since Kosovo declared independence. But the EU has not specifically demanded that Serbia has to recognize Kosovo. Five EU countries have not made that recognition themselves.
Vucic met in Thessaloniki with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and was later joined by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov. Also Thursday, Vucic held an informal meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who was visiting the Greek city to receive an honorary doctorate.
Serbia is one of six Western Balkan nations seeking EU entry, along with Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro.
Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia contributed. Follow Kantouris at http://www.twitter.com/CostasKantouris