Croatia's caretaker Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and Foreign Minister Miro Kovac confirmed in Paris on Monday that a solution was close at hand regarding the opening of negotiations on the policy areas Nos. 23 and 24 in Serbia's EU entry talks after Croatia's conditions had been met.

Oreskovic, Kovac and Economy Minister Tomislav Panenic participated in a meeting of six EU countries and six western Balkan countries, held as part of the third Berlin Process summit.

"This is a process, we know that Croatia had to meet all criteria, and just like other EU members, we asked the same of Serbia. We are here now and I believe that it is in the interest of all for the entire region to join the EU for the sake of stability, prosperity and economy. We discussed that today again, how to link with one another even more through transport and energy infrastructure and other projects. It is in the interest of us all," Oreskovic said.

"We are close to a solution and I expect in the coming days an agreement on when an intergovernmental accession conference will be organised to discuss the two policy areas. For us it is important that we have managed to incorporate our demands in the negotiating position and I believe the solution will be good for us all in the EU and that it will enable Serbia to make progress towards EU membership," said Oreskovic.

Foreign Minister Kovac expressed satisfaction, saying that details were still being worked on so that the two policy areas could be opened in July.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said the two chapters would be opened on July 19.

Until now Zagreb had been refusing to greenlight the opening of talks on the two policy areas, which concern judiciary and fundamental rights and justice, freedom and security until its demands were met: Serbia's full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; full implementation of Serbia's domestic and international obligations to protect minority rights, including the rights of the Croat minority; and avoiding disputes over jurisdiction in war crimes trials.

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