Italy believes that Serbia must enter the European Union and urges the Balkan nation to accelerate reforms required to join the 27-member bloc, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio stated on Thursday.
"The future of Serbia lies in Europe," Di Maio told his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic during talks in Rome.
Italy hopes the Serbian government "can give fresh impetus to the reform process needed to take the country close to this objective," Di Maio said.
Dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo on normalising ties "is crucial to stabilising the region" Di Maio told Selakov during their meeting.
Di Maio underlined Italy's "strong encouragement" to both sides to work "with a spirit of constructive engagement" facilitated by the EU's Special Representative to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognised by most nations including the US, but Belgrade does not recognize Kosovo as a country.