The European Movement International (EMI) welcomes the decision by EU Foreign Affairs ministers to award EU Candidate Status to the Republic of Serbia. „With Serbia receiving EU Candidate Status and Croatia to join the EU in 2013, a strong signal is being sent to the Balkan region that its future will be in the European Union“, said Jo Leinen, President of the EMI. The recent decision by the council is a signal for other states in South Eastern Europe such as Bosnia and Herzegovina or Albania to step up their efforts on their way to EU accession. The Council agreement is finally acknowledging the long-standing Serbian efforts towards fulfilling EU standards. Serbia now needs to continue with further internal reforms, such as the integration of minorities. The EMI and its National Council in Serbia will contribute to engage the civil society in the dialogue between the EU and Serbia as well as the regional cooperation between the Balkan countries.