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Dec 11. 2011. / Akademediasrbija

Belgrade - Serbia will not give up aspirations to join the European Union, President Boris Tadic said Friday, after the bloc postponed by three months a decision on whether to recognize the Balkan country as a membership candidate.

'I remain in the position that our path leads to the EU and I will never abandon that,' he told a press conference.

Earlier, EU leaders deferred until March a decision on Serbia's candidacy. To obtain the status, Serbia must make progress in talks with its former province, Kosovo.

The news caused one head to roll, as Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic announced his resignation.

Djelic had been a strong backer of Serbian EU membership and had repeatedly promised his country that Serbia would become an official candidate at Friday's summit, even promising to give up his office if that turned out not to be the case.

The move to delay a decision 'is not what Serbia had expected' Djelic told reporters Friday in Brussels. He said he had informed Tadic of his decision.

But Tadic said Belgrade would not change its position on relations with Kosovo, which is recognized as an independent state by most EU nations, but is still seen as a province by Serbia.

He acknowledged that relations with Kosovo must be resolved in the interest of regional stability, but stressed that there will be no 'explicit or implicit' recognition of its sovereignty.

Germany is leading a group of EU countries pressuring Serbia to come to terms with the loss of Kosovo in order to make progress toward EU membership.

Tadic said that the EU decision could help anti-Western nationalist parties in a future election.


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