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Serbia's Vucic Backs Changes To EU Accession Process

EU enlargement commissioner Oliver Varhelyi (left) met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade.

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has expressed support for a new proposed methodology aimed at making the EU membership process more credible, predictable, and politically inclusive.

"My sympathies are with the new methodology," Vucic said on February 6 after talks with EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi in Belgrade.

He said Serbia could benefit from the proposed plan, which would give member states a stronger role in accession talks and calls for more incentives for well-performing aspirant states.

However, backsliding or delays on required reforms could lead to a pause or reversal of the accession process, or even force EU hopefuls to restart entry talks in some policy areas.

If approved by EU member states, the new methodology would automatically apply to Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and North Macedonia.

Serbia and Montenegro, which have already started accession talks with Brussels, would be able to choose between the current approach and the new one.

Serbia would review the proposed reforms carefully before making a final decision, Vucic told a joint news conference with Varhelyi.

The commissioner, who took office in December, said that EU enlargement in the Balkans was its "greatest priority."

"At the end of my term, I would like at least one country from the region ready for accession," the Hungarian diplomat said.

On February 7, he is scheduled to visit Montenegro for talks with Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.

With reporting by dpa and AFP