Belgrade Security Forum: Serbian PM pledges to push for EU membership
Delivering the keynote address at the Belgrade Security Forum, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić said that his country’s efforts to qualify for EU membership will not be dissuaded by a statement by the next EU commissioner for enlargement that no countries will join the union in the next five years.
“It was not a huge surprise. We expected that decision,” Vučić said, responding to a statement made by Johannes Hahn, the EU’s neighborhood and enlargement negotiations commissioner-designate at a September 30 confirmation hearing.
“But anyway we will carry on with our reforms, we’ll continue our EU path and we’ll do our best to finish with all our obligations before the end of 2018, the beginning of 2019, and then everything’s going to be in the hands of some other guys. We have our own duties, not because and not for the EU, but because of Serbia and for the Serbian people.”
Vučić made his remarks as he delivered the keynote speech October 1 at “Europe 2014: Closure and/or New Beginning?,” this year’s edition of the Forum. His full speech can be viewed in the video below. The event was organized by the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE), PASOS member the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, and the European Movement in Serbia.
At the September 30-October 2 event, more than 450 participants, including officials from national, foreign, and international institutions, independent experts, civil society organizations’ representatives, and the media, discussed a number of topics related to security and foreign policy of importance for Serbia, the region, and for the European Union.
In addition to Vučić, other prominent speakers included: Tanja Miščević, Head of the Negotiating Team for Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union; Michael Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia; Michael Kirby, Ambassador of the United States of America to Serbia; Elmar Brok, President of the Foreign Relations Committee of the European Parliament; Gérard Stoudmann, Special Representative of the OSCE to the Western Balkans; Karen Donfried, President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States; and Vladimir Baranovsky, Deputy Director of the Moscow Institute for World Economy and International Relations.
Below is a video of two speeches that opened the conference: A welcome speech by Sonja Licht of BFPE, and Vučić’s keynote address.