Photograph: Medija centar Beograd / commons.wikimedia.org

Serbia's chief negotiator for accession negotiations with the European Union (EU) Tanja Miscevic suggested on Wednesday that contentious issues between Serbia and Croatia have to be resolved by agreement at the bilateral level and that that should not have any impact on the negotiations.

"Bilateral issues should be negotiated. I'm certain that it is also in Croatia's interest to discuss that," Miscevic said in an interview with Radio-Television Serbia in response to announcements from Zagreb that Croatia could set conditions for Serbia's progress in European integration by demanding the abolishment of universal jurisdiction for war crimes and improving rights of the Croat minority in Serbia.

Stressing that she understood Croatia's interests and did not expect Zagreb to back down on its demands, Misecvic believes that this need not be a reason to set conditions for the opening of new negotiating chapters.

Recalling that some bilateral issues had already been "brought into the negotiating process," Miscevic said that "Croatia itself also had that problem" with Slovenia, but that in situations where one member state dissented, other member states could exert pressure.

"However, the tendency is that bilateral issues be resolve bilaterally for the purpose of not delaying negotiations," she said.

Miscevic explained that Serbia's aim was that Chapters 23 and 24 be opened together with Chapter 5 on public procurement. "Chapter 5 is completed and opens the door to opening Chapter 23," she said.

Recalling that the western Balkans had shown its dedication to the EU with its participation in the migrant crisis, Miscevic underscored that Belgrade wanted to additionally impose itself on Brussels.

"That is why we are trying to impose ourselves and the refugee crisis showed how important it was to include the western Balkans. We wish to show that that process is important for us and not only membership," Miscevic told RTS.

Latest news

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.

Hamas rejects Netanyahu's proposal for international forces in Gaza

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to send international forces to the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Deloitte: Growing optimism among CFOs

Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Croatia are more optimistic about growth and financial prospects in 2017 than they were last year, with most of them expecting increases in their company's revenue, a survey shows.

Russian agents main suspects for attempted coup in Montenegro

Russian citizens Eduard Shumakov and Vladimir Popoc, suspected of organising terrorist activities in Montenegro and forming a criminal organisation, are agents of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), British, U.S. and other intelligence agencies confirmed, the Podgorica-based media reported on Sunday.

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.