EU to start membership talks with Serbia in Jan 2014

By bne IntelliNews December 18, 2013

The EU foreign ministers decided on Tuesday, Dec 17, to begin accession talks with Serbia in January 2014, news agency Tanjug reported, quoting Slovenia's foreign minister Karl Erjavec as saying.

The ministers, however, did not agree on the exact date yet, Erjavec said, adding that the date will be set by Greece which will take over the EU Presidency on January 1, 2014.

The original proposal was for the first intergovernmental conference between Serbia and the EU, which will mark the formal start of the talks, to be held on January 21 - and this remains the most likely date, Tanjug quoted unamed EU official as saying.

The ministers also included in the negotiation framework for the talks a clause, according to which Belgrade and Pristina have to sign a legally binding agreement by the end of the accession talks with Serbia, Erjavec noted.

The European Council of March 2012 granted the status of candidate country to Serbia. In April 2013, Kosovo and Serbia reached a historic agreement under EU mediation, aiming at normalising their relations.

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