French Minister: EU not ready for enlargement

Source: Tanjug/AP/Francois Mori

The current situation in the European Union does not allow enlargement under the satisfactory condition, Nathalie Loiseau, French Minister for European Affairs said ahead of her visit to Belgrade, the Beta news agency reported on Monday.

She said the May election would be crucial for the future of the EU.

French Minister added her country believed Serbia had a European perspective and that, besides Montenegro, was the country which progressed the most on that path after opening 16 out of 35 chapters in the accession talks with the EU.

“The current state of the EU is not favourable for new memberships, either for the bloc or the new states which aspire to join. We have to reform the EU and to revise its functioning,” Loiseau told the Belgrade Politika daily.

She added the EU reform was in the interest of both the bloc, its neighbours and the countries which would like to become the EU members.

Loiseau also reminded the aspirant countries had to meet all criteria related to every chapter of the negotiations.

She did not want to speculate on a possible date for Serbia’s full membership, adding it was not clear if the EU would be ready and when Serbia would be prepared.

Loiseau said the crucial challenges for Serbia’s membership were the strengthening of the rule of law and a solution to the Kosovo issue.

Paris supports the EU-facilitated Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on normalisation of relations, she said, adding it is ready to contribute to the talks.

“The dialogue has no alternative. We don’t underestimate the difficulties it is facing nor do we undervalue the tension arising from them. Everyone has to take own responsibility,” Loiseau said.

She added France called on Pristina to revoke the decision on the 100 percent import tariffs imposed on goods from Serbia and Bosnia last November and said the dialogue was not possible without mutual trust.