EU Ambassadors in Kruševac
The European Commission has given its opinion on 12 October, proposing that Serbia should be granted the candidate status for EU membership, and this remains our opinion, Vincent Degert, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, said in Kruševac.
"The only remaining problem which was the condition for granting the status is solved, because we have seen further progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština. We had discussions yesterday with the Member States on this subject and this remains the European Commission’s opinion, but the final decision will be made on Friday," Degert said.
During the visit to Kruševac, Degert led a delegation of twenty representatives of embassies of EU Member States. This is a traditional monthly co-ordination meeting of ambassadors of EU Member States to Serbia which is held in one of Serbian towns twice a year.
The ambassadors met the representatives of the City of Kruševac and the local business community. They also visited the construction sites in the juvenile detention centre and regional water supply plant in Majdevo, the EU-funded projects worth EUR 10.7 million.
After the meeting with the representatives of the business community, Degert said that Kruševac had a lot of potential in the area of tourism, agriculture and for greenfield investments.
"In the conversation with the local authorities and business community we learned that Kruševac has a lot to offer in the area of economic cooperation and I am sure that the interest for this among my colleagues, EU ambassadors, has increased after this meeting. We also had an opportunity to learn about the obstacles for local companies in entering the EU market, such as patents and payment procedures," Degert said.
Regarding the crisis in the Eurozone, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia pointed out that the European institutions will tackle this issue in the following days.
“The EU is the biggest world market and the biggest area of democracy in the world, and we should be confident that this democratic capacity will help us find appropriate solutions to the challenges that we are facing today,” Degert said.
“Sometimes the market would like us to react 'on the click of the mouse' and this is simply impossible. There is a process that we need to go through and we hope that the democratic capacity that we have will help us deliver on these issues,” Degert added.
The ambassadors of European countries also visited the construction site of the new pavilions in the juvenile detention centre, where the EU invested some 2.6 million euros.
In Degert’s words, the European Commission was critical about the problem of overcrowded prisons in Serbia and launched several projects in order to improve the situation in this area, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice. These projects include the construction of 5,800 m2 of new pavilions in the juvenile detention centre, but also the introduction of the so-called alternative sanctions, such as electronic monitoring bracelets.
EU ambassadors also visited the construction and rehabilitation works of the regional water supply system for Rasina County in the water supply plant in Majdevo. The European Union contributed EUR 8 million to this project.