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Decision on Serbia's EU candidacy based on results not politics: Danish envoy

(Xinhua)

09:38, February 21, 2012

BELGRADE, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Danish Minister for European Affairs Nicolai Wammen said on Monday that the decision on Serbia' European Union (EU) candidate status will be based on concrete results rather than politics, reported the Serbian news agency Tanjug.

A decision on Serbia's EU candidacy is expected on March 1.

Wammen made the remarks at a joint press conference with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, saying any EU decision would be based on the merits of Serbia's recent achievements while rejecting the notion that the decision could swayed by political maneuvering, in an oblique reference to a letter from the Kosovo authority to EU member states.

The letter reportedly blames Serbia for lack of progress in negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, and asks for the rejection of Serbia's candidacy. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. While leading EU countries have recognized the independence of Kosovo, Serbia maintains it is legally its southern province.

"We will review what has been done and make a decision based on that," stated the Danish minister whose country currently heads the EU presidency.

While his message was positive in tone, actual progress in the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, beyond mere dialogue, was stressed.

"It is time to take the necessary steps to reach an agreement," said Wammen.

Although recognizing the importance of progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina on a final status for Kosovo, Jeremic said Serbia's official stance would not change. Nonetheless, he stated an EU perspective for Serbia was in the interest of the EU and the Western Balkans.

"We should not prejudice the decision in any way at this moment," said Jeremic. "The moment is positive, but the goal has not been reached,"he added.

Wammen later met with Serbian President Boris Tadic, where they discussed relations between Serbia and Denmark, along with the EU integration of Serbia. He also met with Borislav Stefanovic, the head of the Belgrade negotiating team, who is scheduled to arrive in Brussels on Tuesday for the beginning of a fresh round of talks with a team from Pristina.

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