Berlin calls on Serbs to vote for path to EU in presidential election


Berlin : The German government here Monday stressed its support for Serbia’s path to the European Union less than a day after ultra-national leader Tomislav Nikolic won the first round of the Serbian elections against President Boris Tadic.

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Addressing a press conference, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said, “We believe that the future of Serbia lies in the European Union. We will support Serbia on this path. The choice whether they want or not want to go this path lies with the citizens of Serbia.”

He welcomed the high Serbian voter turnout, reported at over 60 percent.

Nikolic secured 39.4 percent of the Serbian vote compared to 35.4 percent for Tadic.

Since none of them reached the mandated absolute majority, both will face one another in the presidential run-offs, slated for February 3.

Ethnic Albanian leaders from the Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo are also expected to announce their independence from Serbia in early February.

While most of the 27 EU countries are willing to signal green light for such a plan, the bloc is also interested in helping Serbia save face by speeding up Belgrade’s accession process.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, a nationalist, warned earlier that the EU would have to choose between closer relations with Serbia and supporting an independent Kosovo.