i on europe


Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

New Serbian president vows to seek EU membership

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic


BRUSSELS — Serbia’s new president tried Thursday to assure worried European leaders that he has shifted from his earlier extreme anti-Western stance, saying his country hopes to receive EU approval later this year to open accession talks with the 27-nation bloc.

EU officials said they would warn Tomislav Nikolic to tone down his nationalist statements if he wishes to see his nation progress toward membership.

Nikolic, a former ultranationalist, has courted controversy since his election last month, questioning whether the Bosnian Serb killings of 8,000 Muslims in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre constitutes genocide — the U.N. says it does — and claiming that Vukovar, a Croatian town destroyed by Serb forces in 1991, is a Serbian city.

After a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during his first visit to Brussels, Nikolic vowed “there is no better future for Serbia than membership in the union.”


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