Serbia's EU Accession -they must sustain this positive momentum / 29-03-2012
The plenary session of the European Parliament today discussed the progress of Serbia for the first time since it became a candidate country for membership of the EU. Due to the progress in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and in the implementation of agreements reached to date, the European Council was in a position to grant Serbia candidate status at its meeting at the beginning of the month.
Jelko Kacin MEP (LDS, Slovenia) and Parliament's rapporteur for Serbia expressed hope that accession negotiations with Serbia will be opened as soon as possible, while at the same time stressing the need for stepping up the fight against corruption and organized crime:
"I believe that accession negotiations with Serbia should be opened as soon as possible, once the new government has demonstrated its commitment to the reform effort and regional cooperation. At the same time, the Serbian authorities need to step up the fight against systemic corruption. Political will in the executive branch of the government remains crucial for a successful fight against corruption. The ongoing reform of the judiciary needs to eliminate suspicions of political influence on judges and prosecutors. Serbia must do her utmost to sustain the positive momentum towards EU membership."
Kacin concluded his remarks by paying respects to the recently deceased Head of the Serbian Anti-Corruption Council, Mrs Verica Barać:
"Let me take this opportunity to recall everything Mrs Verica Barać, Head of the Anti-Corruption Council, has done for Serbia. She passed away on the 19th of March. I hope Serbian leaders will match her commitment to the fight against corruption and the energy she demonstrated in pursuing justice. They failed to do so all too often while she fought against private interests on her own as the Head of the Anti-Corruption Council. She proved that independent institutions in Serbia do their job professionally and efficiently."
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