EU recommends Serbia begin talks to join the Union
The EU's enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele said on Twitter that he welcomed the recommendation by ministers meeting in Luxembourg as "proof of credibility after unprecedented steps on normalisation with Kosovo."
The decisions had been contingent on Belgrade and Pristina taking necessary steps to normalize their relations.
Tomislav Nikolić added that "Serbia does not need charity," and has earned to be given a start of accession talks with the EU for its efforts.
"We belong in the European family. We want to organize the country in line with other European countries, and this process has been moving more slowly than it should have, but is now progressing at a normal pace," said the Serbian president after his meeting on Tuesday in Belgrade with Hungarian counterpart Janos Ader.
Nikolić stressed Serbia wants a realistic assessment of whether it has met, over the past year and the past ten years, the requirements fulfilled by other countries on the European path.
"They should tell us why we are not starting talks if we deserve it, or if we do not, what else we need to do. We will continue reforms regardless of the EU's position," said the Serbian president.
Serbia is in no hurry, because the EU accession process "is not for a year or two, but for eternity" and once the talks start, the opening and closing of every chapter and fulfillment of requirements will mean we have organized our state not only in accordance with European standards, but also our own wishes, he said.
Nikolić said Serbia did not rush in changing its system and conducting reforms in order to begin membership talks sooner, so it does not expect everything to move quickly once the talks start either.
"Things will move at the pace the EU deems fit," said Nikolić.
The final decision regarding the start of Serbia's accession talks with the EU will be made by the European Council on Friday, June 28.
If approved, talks could start with Serbia by early 2014 at the latest, diplomats indicated.
Voice of Russia, AFP