Press release

Foreign Secretary welcomes Serbia’s EU Progress

William Hague welcomed today’s European Council decision to start EU accession negotiations with Serbia in January, an important milestone.

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The Foreign Secretary said:

I welcome the EU’s decision to open accession negotiations with Serbia. Serbia’s leadership has shown sustained political will and taken concrete steps to improve relations with Kosovo.

The UK remains a strong supporter of EU enlargement to all the countries of the Western Balkans, including both Serbia and Kosovo, and Turkey. Enlargement benefits the UK. Expansion of the single market means greater prosperity for Britain. And stability in the Western Balkans means greater security for the UK.

Serbia opening EU accession negotiations is an important milestone on its EU path. There will be many challenges ahead. The accession process for all countries is long and rigorous, requiring the further deepening of domestic reforms and the promotion of regional relations. Normalisation of Serbia’s relations with Kosovo will be a yardstick throughout this process and full normalisation will be required before Serbia joins the EU. But the negotiations will also bring increasing stability and prosperity to the people of Serbia.

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Published 20 December 2013