NEWS

Papandreou vows to get Serbia in EU

Standing over the grave of Zoran Djindjic on Saturday, and addressing the assassinated Serb prime minister, Foreign Minister George Papandreou vowed that Greece would do all possible to get Serbia into the European Union. «I swear to you, Zoran, that our vision of Serbia joining the European Union will become reality. As a Greek I swear eternal friendship with the Serb people,» a moved Papandreou said. He was representing Greece and the EU presidency. Hundreds of thousands attended the funeral at Belgrade’s Saint Sava Cathedral. Papandreou and his aides played a key role in helping Djindjic and the Serb opposition topple Slobodan Milosevic from the Serb leadership in 2000. Greeks and Serbs have enjoyed a strong friendship over centuries. Both are Orthodox Christian nations which fought wars of liberation against the Ottoman Empire. Greece was Yugoslavia’s greatest supporter in the EU during Milosevic’s reign, but Papandreou’s Foreign Ministry helped oust the Yugoslav leader and maintained close ties with the new government. Leaders from the region and representatives of Western governments, as well as European Commission President Romano Prodi, attended the funeral. Papandreou told the mourners the EU would help Serbia bring to justice those responsible for Djindjic’s murder last Wednesday. «Let the cowardly assassins know that they cannot and will not go unpunished,» he said in an oration. «The perpetrators of this act cannot change what you and your friends created in Serbia and the broader region,» Papandreou said. «We will continue to help those who are fighting for democracy, for freedom, for peace, for security and well-being and for the joint aim of a common Europe, our Europe,» he said. Papandreou ended his oration by saying, in Greek and Serb, «Adieu my friend Zoran.» In a statement to the Athens News Agency, Papandreou said: «Our presence here is not only to honor a friend and a prime minister, it is to declare our faith in a democratic Serbia, in its future and the future of the region. Europe must secure good relations, respect for human beings and good neighborliness.»