At consultations on 6 March in Vilnius, Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Vytautas Leškevičius and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Ljubica Vasić discussed bilateral relations and possibilities for cooperation, Lithuanian’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Serbia’s progress in meeting the criteria for EU accession.
Leškevičius welcomed the on-going political talks, called on enhancing versatile cooperation and searching for opportunities to strengthen business ties. During the meeting, Leškevičius stressed that Lithuania had always supported the EU’s enlargement process and would focus on this issue during the country’s Presidency of the EU Council.
When discussing Serbia’s accession to the EU, the Vice-Minister pointed out that Lithuania supported Serbia’s aspirations to join the European Union and was ready to share the experience of European integration. The Lithuanian Vice-Minister welcomed the results of the talks between Belgrade and Pristina, but drew attention to the importance of the implementation of the decisions that were reached during those talks.
“Serbia’s further EU integration process will, first of all, depend on efforts and results yielded by this country. As Serbia aspires to join the EU, it is important not only to normalize relations with Kosovo, but also to meet the EU’s political criteria for membership, including the rule of law, the fight against corruption, the improvement of business environment, the freedom of the press, the protection of minorities and integration of persons belonging to minorities,” Leškevičius said.
On 1 March 2012, the European Council granted candidate status to Serbia. In line with the European Commission’s report on Serbia’s progress, the Council of the European Union will consider a potential decision to open accession negotiations with Serbia in June 2013.