Submitting Serbia’s application for EU candidacy was not premature, says Boris Tadić, and adds he hopes the country would receive that status in 2010.
Speaking in Novi Sad on Wednesday night, the president said that Serbia was “not the same country” after the formal request to become EU candidate, submitted on Tuesday in Stockholm.
“We can measure time by October 5 and after,” he said in reference to the 2000 ousting of Slobodan Milošević, “by applying for the official EU membership and after that, by the candidate status and after, by the beginning of negotiations about the future membership and after that and by Serbia’s admission to the EU and after that moment.”
Although the candidate status application was a “historic step”, Serbia is looking at hard work and changes, he stated.
Serbian president said that his “holiday wish to the citizens was the EU candidate status”, and that “Serbia in the EU” was the most important subject at this moment.
“I do not know if that will happen in 2010 or at the beginning of 2011, but we must believe that we can achieve it,” Tadić said.
“Candidate status is useful for all of us because it means real access to the EU development funds which are much larger than those our country currently has at its disposal,” he was quoted.
The president said that the EU had made the good decision to support Serbian budget with EUR 50mn, and pointed out that those funds had already started to arrive.
“Everything that is related to Serbia’s candidacy for fully-fledged membership in the EU, unfreezing of the Interim Trade Agreement and Fiat EUR 100mn investment by the end of the year and up to EUR 700mn in the future,” according to him.
“But only once we have access to all the funds of the EU, that will be exceptionally important for all the Serbian citizens,” said Tadić.