Serbia moved closer to starting negotiations to join the European Union, showing the bloc’s appeal as a force for economic advancement and democratic progress in the Balkans.
European government leaders agreed to start entry talks by January 2014. In a concession to Serbia, the leaders said the start date may be set as soon as October instead of waiting until the EU’s December summit. Talks will also get underway on closer political and economic ties with Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia in 2008, EU leaders said today at a summit in Brussels.
Serbia’s march to the EU is likely to take years. Neighboring Croatia, which fought against Serbia as Yugoslavia dissolved in the 1990s, becomes an EU member next week after almost eight years of negotiations and ratifications.
While Serbia is not “overly happy” that the talks may not start in October, the move toward the EU is still a historic event, Serb Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said in Belgrade yesterday.
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