Serbia, EU disagree over immediate priorities of Serbia’s EU integration

A joint U.S. - Serbian delegation meets at the Ohio National Guard

Serbia and the European Parliament disagreed over the immediate priorities to boost Serbia's EU integration, as Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received chief of foreign affairs at the EU parliament.

After meeting Vucic, Chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister said Saturday that “reforming justice system and tackling of corruption are Serbia's main obstacles on its path of European integration.”

Also, the EU parliament's rapporteur on Serbia since 2014, McAllister, claimed that the implementation of the rule of law is the most important segment to boost Serbia's integration.

Meanwhile Vucic expressed a different opinion, arguing that what really matters to the European Union (EU) is Serbia's relations with its southern province of Kosovo and Metohija, and Serbia's traditional partnership with Russia.

Kosovo separately declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which was recognized by most EU countries. However, Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province.

According to a statement released by the president's press office, Vucic said the rule of law is not what he is worried about most when it comes to Serbia's EU accession and suggested that EU members see Kosovo as the first, and Serbia's relations with Russia as the second key priority.

Vucic pointed out that "Serbia acknowledges the remarks of the EU in that direction and is making progress to reform its judiciary."

According to the source, Vucic and McAllister both agreed that Serbia should continue its EU path. McAllister will visit Serbia again in two weeks in order to meet representatives of the parliament and the Serbian government, according to the statement.

"I would like to see Serbia in the EU rather sooner than later, and many of my colleagues think so too, but there is still work to be done especially when it comes to the rule of law and tackling corruption," McAllister said.

McAllister expressed hope that the two countries could become the 28th and 29th member of the EU, once Britain leaves the EU.