Tánaiste welcomes the granting of EU candidate status to Serbia at today’s European Council02 March 2012
The European Council today confirmed the decision of the General Affairs Council to grant EU candidate status to Serbia.
On the granting of candidacy, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., said:
“Ireland is a strong advocate of the EU enlargement process and we have consistently supported Serbia as it pursues the realisation of its European perspective. The decision by the European Council reaffirms the conviction that with the determination and resolve to implement the reforms required by the accession process, our neighbours can be confident that progress towards EU integration will be achieved”.
On the question of whether Serbia has implemented sufficient reforms, in particular with regard to Kosovo, to justify candidate status, the Tánaiste noted:
“Serbia’s candidacy was considered by the European Council last December. At that time, it was felt that further reforms and improved regional cooperation, specifically with Kosovo, would be required before candidacy could be granted. In the intervening months, Serbia has intensified its efforts and demonstrated a genuine willingness to engage with its neighbours in the pursuit of regional stability and cooperation.
This was in evidence earlier this week when Serbia and Kosovo reached agreement on a number of critical aspects of their relations as part of the EU-sponsored Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue. This agreement, along with the granting of Serbia’s candidate country status, is undoubtedly a major milestone for both countries and, indeed, the Western Balkan region.
I am greatly encouraged by Serbia’s progress and I look forward to working with Belgrade, in particular during Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of Ministers in 2013, as it continues on its path towards EU membership”.