Serbian EU accession negotiations will be opened on December 14, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Thursday.

“As a result of our long-term effort to make Serbia a country of European standards and values I can gladly report that Serbia will officially open the first chapters of negotiation launching talks on membership in the European Union on December 14,” Vucic said of at the opening of the OSCE Foreign Ministers session in Belgrade.

“Serbia chooses life and prosperity, rather than conflict,” said Vucic, adding that the country and the region “are a part of Europe” and that Serbia continues on its European path, with the help from “American colleagues” and at the same time preserves its ties with Russia.

Russian Sputnik news agency reported that last week, Serbia’s chief negotiator with the European Union said she expected the sides to open Chapter 32 on financial control and the contentious Chapter 35 on normalizing relations with Kosovo.

Kerry congratulates Vucic for his leadership

On 2 December, US Secretary of State John Kerry, travelled in Belgrade to participate at the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council, which is taking place on December 3-4.

Yesterday, Kerry met with Vucic and congratulated him for his work: “I want to congratulate you because you are leading Serbia on a very important path to define a ‘new Serbia’ and to move as rapidly as possible towards the EU integration, which we completely support and believe will be good for the economy of your country, good for your people, create more opportunities and help provide stability and prosperity.”

Kerry said he and Vucic met in Washington recently and talked about the prospects of the Serbian economy and how its able to move into the global economy “with all of the abilities of the people of Serbia, who are talented, educated and ready to work.”