The European Parliament's rapporteur for Serbia, David McAllister, said on Monday that Serbia was making generally good headway on its journey towards the European Union and that it was recommended that Serbia-Croatia outstanding issues should be solved bilaterally and not at the European Union's level.
McAllister and the rapporteur for Kosovo, Ulrike Lunacek, today briefed the EP foreign affairs committee with draft progress reports on Serbia and Kosovo.
Mc Allister, a German deputy and a member of the EPP, told reporters that Serbia's headway was generally good and that to date six policy chapters within the negotiating process had been opened and one chapter closed.
However, much work is still ahead of Serbia considering the rule of law, fight against corruption and against organised crime, minority rights' protection and freedom of expression and media, the German MEP told the press.
During the debate, Croatia's MEP Dubravka Suica said Croatia did not want to block Serbia on its journey towards the EU but that several outstanding issues should be resolved.
We will have to solve our outstanding issues with Serbia during the (accession) negotiations, I am not prone to turning those issues into a reason for the non-opening of chapters, however, they must be settled before the closing (of the chapters), Suica said.
In response to remarks from some Slovenia's members of the European Parliament about Croatia's blockade of Serbia's EU membership talks, Croatia's MEP Tonino Picula said this was not a blockade but a sort of positive pressure to make Serbia implement reforms.
During the discussion, some MEPs pointed to problems in Serbia such as the abidance to the rule of law, corruption and organised crime, media freedoms, non-transparent media ownership and minority and human rights.