Serbia To Start EU Accession Talks on January 21, 2014World | December 20, 2013, Friday // 18:11| views
European Council President Van Rompuy, photo by EPA/BGNES
European Council President Van Rompuy has officially confirmed the decision of EU leaders to start accession talks with Serbia.
Speaking at a press conference after a two-day summit in Brussels, Van Rompuy, as cited by Tanjug, announced that the talks with Serbia would start on January 21.
Upon leaving Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists that EU Member States had acknowledged the remarkable progress in the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue.
At the first intergovernmental conference between Serbia and the EU, the EU will be represented by Greece, which will take over the EU Presidency on January 1.
The opening of the first chapters is expected to take place in the second half of 2014 and the first chapters to be opened are 23 and 24 concerning justice, police, and basic human rights.
Simultaneously, chapter 35 (miscellaneous) will be opened, which concerns the normalization of the Belgrade-Pristina relations.
Under the negotiating framework, at the end of the talks between Serbia and the EU, Belgrade and Pristina are to sign a legally binding agreement on the normalization of relations.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton told reporters on Thursday that this was not a demand to formally recognize Kosovo's independence.
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