The UK remains a strong supporter of EU enlargement to all the countries of the Western Balkans, including both Serbia and Kosovo, and Turkey, once conditions have been met. Enlargement benefits the UK. Expansion of the single market means greater prosperity for Britain. Stability in the Western Balkans means greater security for the UK.
We supported the decision to open EU accession negotiations with Serbia in January this year. Serbia's leadership has shown sustained political will to continue its path towards the EU, and taken concrete steps to improve relations with Kosovo. The start of EU accession negotiations in January was an important milestone on Serbia's EU path. There will be many challenges ahead. The accession process for all countries is long and rigorous, requiring the further deepening of domestic reforms and the promotion of positive regional relations. Normalisation of Serbia's relations with Kosovo will be a yardstick throughout this process and comprehensive normalisation will be required before Serbia joins the EU. The reforms required by the negotiations will also bring increasing stability and prosperity to the people of Serbia.