The Western Balkans “belong to Europe” and the EU is oriented toward not imposing new conditions on Serbia for obtaining Candidate Country status, Minister Terzi underscored at the end of a meeting in Rome with his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic, confirming Italy’s full support for Serbian integration.
As for the Kosovo question, Terzi specified that the conditions set by the EU for negotiating Serbia’s accession “are clear” and that the international community “must avoid independent discussions so as not to give Balkan public opinion the sensation that it wants to introduce further conditions”. In any case, Terzi recalled, the European intention that emerged from the latest Foreign Affairs Council is to “go forward” in the process on the basis of the results obtained on “technical questions” still on the table, such as “border management, freedom of movement and security in northern Kosovo”.
Jeremic gave assurances that Serbia would “work hard” to produce those results, working with Italy, which is Serbia’s “principal supporter” in the EU. As for Belgrade-Pristina relations, Jeremic specified that Serbia’s position “is known and has not changed”, but that this “does not rule out a solution satisfactory to both sides”.
Terzi also underscored the “intensity” of bilateral relations, with particular reference to growth in commercial trade (+17% in 2011) and prospects for new Italian investments in the sectors of infrastructure, renewable energy and farm/food production. Jeremic announced that an Italy-Serbia intergovernmental summit that had been postponed several times would be held in March in Belgrade. “Today was a first step in the organization of the summit. We are anxious to receive President Monti and other members of the government”, he said.