BRUSSELS -- Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has told European Union officials that Belgrade’s top foreign policy priority after Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic assumes Serbia’s presidency on May 31 will continue to be joining the EU.
Dacic made the remarks after he met in Brussels on April 24 together with Vucic, Serbia’s president-elect, and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
Dacic told journalists in Brussels after the meeting that it is of the utmost importance that Belgrade's European integration maintains its momentum and avoids standstills.
"It means that Serbia will do its best," Dacic said. "It will try to play a constructive role, which will ultimately yield in the Balkans a zone of stability and peace."
Dacic said he and Vucic talked with the EU enlargement commission about "all existing challenges, including different statements which run counter to the search for common interests in the Balkans but strive to go back to the past which is fraught with a risk of conflicts that, instead, endanger Balkan peace and stability."
Meanwhile, Hahn on April 24 commended Serbia "for having shown leadership when it comes to regional cooperation and good neighborly relations."
In an apparent reference to recent comments by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama about the potential unification of Albania and Kosovo, Hahn said he was disappointed and annoyed by "inflammatory statements from certain leaders in the region."
Hahn said those statements could be considered as "interference in neighboring countries" and that "implying changing borders" was not acceptable and "more than unnecessary and counterproductive."
"If somebody believes that such a kind of statement might put pressure on us, it would be a big mistake because this can easily backfire," Hahn said.
"One should be aware that the Europeans have a strong interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the region," Hahn said. "This can only be achieved via good neighborly relations, if everybody works together and is contributing to the further development of the region."
Vucic -- the leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) -- was elected in April as Serbia's next president, winning the contest outright in the first round ballot with about 55 percent of the vote.