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News 01 Jul 16

Serbian PM Lashes Out Over EU Negotiations Delay

Serbia’s prime minister designate Aleksandar Vucic blamed Britain and Croatia for the EU’s delay in opening important negotiations with Belgrade on two chapters of European legislation.

Milivoje Pantovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Prime Minister designate Aleksandar Vucic. Photo: Beta.

Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday that Britain and Croatia were responsible for the EU’s decision this week not to open talks on Chapter 23 and 24 of the legislation Serbia needs to adopt to join the European Union.

“On Sunday I will be in Paris with regional and EU leaders and I will demand an explanation as to why the chapters are not open in the talks with Serbia,” Vucic told a press conference.

Croatia said on Monday that it was not able to approve Serbia opening Chapter 23 in its EU membership talks, citing what it called "substantial reasons".

Britain also withheld support, citing "technical reasons" related to the country’s recent referendum decision to leave the EU.

Vucic accused Croatia of trying to block Serbia’s accession, accusing Zagreb of playing “childish games”.

“Their only concern is how to stop Serbia on its EU path,” he said.

“We have done everything that was asked of us so that the chapters would be open. If we have made some mistake, I would like the EU to inform Serbia what those mistakes are,” he added.

Serbian foreign minister Ivica Dacic meanwhile called the EU’s decision “shameful, incomprehensible and humiliating”.

“This decision is result of a political decision to halt or slow down Serbia’s EU path,” said Dacic.

Dacic said he had asked Vucic for urgent consultations on the issue.

“The EU should stop the tragicomic explanations that we are being blocked by Croatia and the United Kingdom. No, we are being blocked by the EU, because no one can convince me that the entire EU is not more influential then Croatia,” he said.

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