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EU-Serbia: Stabilisation Council, Belgrade should “align” its foreign policy with the EU’s. Focus on democracy and corruption

“Progress on the rule of law and fundamental rights chapters, as well as on the normalisation of Serbia’s relations with Kosovo, is essential and will continue to determine the pace of accession negotiations overall”. This is one of the key points in the statement released at the end of the meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council (SA), held late last night in Brussels. Another important request was for Belgrade to “progressively align its policies towards third countries” with the policies “adopted by the Union and its Member States”. While welcoming the progress made by Serbia, the Council also encouraged Belgrade to “intensify reform efforts and to deliver convincing results”, in particular “on democratic governance and the rule of law”, war crimes, “freedom of expression, and the fight against corruption and organised crime”. According to the Council, it is crucial that the Balkan country meets “in a timely manner the commitments taken in its Action Plans for chapters 23 and 24” on justice and security. Serbia is also required to implement “all OSCE recommendations” so as to guarantee transparency in the upcoming elections. Finally, the statement also includes recommendations on the work of the Parliament, which needs to be improved as a matter of priority, and on the promotion of a strong civil society.

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