Norwegian ambassador to Belgrade, Arne Sannes Bjørnstad, told the Belgrade Danas daily on Friday that Serbia’s membership to the European Union did not depend only on a solution to the Kosovo issue, but also on the rule of law and media reforms, the FoNet news agency reported.
He said the focus was mainly on Kosovo, adding he believed that “is throwing a shadow” at other issues vital to people’s benefits and were the pre-conditions Serbia had to meet to adjust itself to the European standards in media, public procurement, subsidies, economic development…
Bjørnstad said both Serbia’s and Kosovo’s citizens were hostages to the current circumstances.
“I don’t know when the tariffs (Pristina’s customs duties on goods from Serbia and Bosnia) will be abolished, but the longer this situation lasts, more difficult it will be in both Kosovo and Serbia,” the ambassador told the daily.
Bjørnstad also said his embassy worked with the Government of Serbia and the OSCE Mission on a new media strategy and added he was convinced that process would progress.
“It is crucial to have the media market which will be less dependent on subsidies,” he said.
According to the ambassador, the financing of media should be predictable and not linked to political positions, i.e., on whether journalists were criticising the politicians or not.