Serbia wants to be a member of the European Union (EU) and be like all EU member states, but Serbia has one condition and that is that Europe doesn't ever demand that Serbia recognise Kosovo's independence, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic told Greek media.
"We will never be a member of a union that would demand that of us and I am grateful to all those countries that have not recognised Kosovo's independence, including our dear Greece," Nikolic said in an interview with a Greek television station on Monday after attending a memorial service marking the 100th anniversary of a Serbian landing operation on Corfu island in World War I.
Asked whether Serbia liked the Europe it wishes to become a member of, Nikolic said, "We don't have a better Europe," according to the Serbian public broadcaster RTS.
"We are surrounded by the European Union. We wish to regulate our country in the way other EU member states are regulated. The EU will hardly reach a consensus of all member states regarding our accession but we are negotiating," Nikolic said on Corfu where he was proclaimed an honorary citizen of the island.
Commenting on the migrant and refugee crisis, Nikolic said that neither Serbia nor Greece "are the cause, but they are suffering the consequences." "Europe, of which you are a member, and which we want to join, proclaims the principle of freedom of movement, choice of employment, choice of country you wish to live in and in particular taking care of people who due to various forms of unpleasantries in their own country, are leaving their countries," he said.
According to the Serbian president, Europe changed its approach to the refugee problem when it became clear that selfishness was emerging in Europe and that many politicians, who respected European rules, were losing their popularity.
Addressing the memorial service, Nikolic underscored that he had come to mark the anniversary of an event in the history of the Serbian people, the 100th anniversary since the landing of Serbian troops on the island of Corfu where they recuperated. Nikolic thanked the Greeks for all they had done to help the Serbs and expressed pride in the participation of Serbian forces in breaking through the Thessaloniki front and resolving the fate of WWI.
Around 21,000 Serbian soldiers were killed fighting on the Thessaloniki front. Serbia was allied to the superpowers, and during WWI it lost between 1.1 and 1.3 million people, or about a third of its population at the time and about 60 percent of the male population.