In his reply to a letter by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that good neighbourly relations, regional cooperation and reconciliation were the basic principles that should be respected by all EU candidate countries, potential candidates and EU member-countries.
EC spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said that in his reply to Vucic's letter, Juncker called on Croatia and Serbia to restore constructive bilateral engagement.
Vucic said on August 1 that he had written to EU leaders to warn them that "a blatant anti-Serb policy, which Serbia did not provoke in any way, is being pursued by Croatia."
Kocijancic said that in his reply, Juncker stressed that the EC had always strongly advocated respect for victims and remembrance of war crimes in Europe. EU law criminalises hate crimes based on ethnicity and incitement of violence or hate, said Kocijancic.
Under EU law, EU member-countries are obliged to ensure the prosecution of those crimes, and countries aspiring to join the EU are expected to adjust to those laws, Kocijancic quoted Juncker as saying.
Juncker also said that the long road to reconciliation among nations required joint, sincere efforts by all sides and at all levels to admit past injustices without any bias so that they could be acknowledged by all, which would prepare the ground for a common, cooperative future. All outstanding issues must be solved through constructive bilateral dialogue and mutual respect. It is in the interest of all in the region to restore that spirit and discourse, Juncker said in his reply to Vucic.