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EU’s Ashton Due to Meet Serbian Leaders

Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, is expected to visit Serbia next week, immediately after a new government is formed, to discuss EU integration and Kosovo.

Ashton is due to meet Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s future Prime Minister, on Monday, mainly to discuss the continuation of EU-mediated talks on normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, Balkan Insight has learned from an EU diplomat.

Extraordinary meeting of Foreign Affairs Council in BrusselsAccording to the diplomat, the two are due to discuss implementation of the April 2013 agreement on normalisation of relations.

In the last, 23rd round of the talks, on March 31, Kosovo and Serbia leaders reached a preliminary agreement on the judicial system in the Serb-run north of Kosovo.

Ashton and Vucic are also to discuss Serbia’s ongoing EU integration process. Serbia started EU membership talks in January and hopes to join the European club in 2020.

On Tuesday, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic handed Vucic a mandate to form a government following his Progressive Party’s victory in the March 16 general elections.

Vucic is due to sign coalition government agreements with the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians and the Socialists Party of Serbia.

In the election, the Progressive Party won 158 seats of the 250 seats, giving it an absolute majority, while the Socialists won 44 and the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians six.

According to Vucic, the new cabinet will be formed this week by April 27. He has pledged that it would be a modern and efficient government with no more than 17 ministers.




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