Belgrade - Czech President Milos Zeman believes that Serbia will join the European Union in the years to come, he said after talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic today.
Český prezident Prezident Miloš Zeman na tiskové konferenci po setkání se svým srbským protějškem Tomislavem Nikolićem v Bělehradě. ČTK/AP Darko Vojinovic
Zeman said the Czech Republic supports the Serbian path to the EU and that it does not place any special demands on Serbia.
Nikolic said Serbia lost much time on its way to the EU in the past.
He said Serbia´s new government produced by the recent early parliamentary election would continue with the integration process and should correct the mistakes made in the past.
The election has been clearly won by the Serbian Progressive Party of Aleksandar Vucic, which strongly opposes organised crime and supports the country´s EU entry.
Originally, Zeman was to meet the future prime minister Vucic today, but the meeting was cancelled, allegedly due to Vucic´s busy schedule.
Serbia is the key factor for making the Balkans a stable region and it may thus reinforce the EU´s role in the Balkans, Nikolic said.
After spending two days in Serbia, Zeman will move to Slovenia. In Ljubjana, he is to have talks with his counterpart Borut Pahor.
Zeman is accompanied by a large group of Czech entrepreneurs on both official visits.
Zeman noted that the unemployment rate in Serbia was over 25 percent, which of course led to social and political tension. This tension can be lowered only if new jobs are created, he added.
One of the points of controversy between Belgrade and Brussels is the status of Kosovo, which declared independence of Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade has not recognised it. Under pressure from the EU, top representatives of the two countries started negotiating.
Serbia remembers 15 years from the bombing of Belgrade by NATO planes, in reaction to Serbian military actions in Kosovo. Zeman was Czech prime minister at the time.
Zeman said the Czech Republic had agreed with the bombing of Serbia only after the other EU members had approved it and under the condition that only military targets would be hit.
"This condition was not met," Zeman said.
Zeman as prime minister paid a visit to Belgrade in 2002. He promoted the territorial integrity of the Yugoslav federation, especially in relation to the then ambitions of Montenegro and Kosovo. However, Montenegro declared independence in 2006, Kosovo two years later.