BRUSSELS - The European Commission said on Wednesday Serbia was not ready to start accession talks with the EU because of its tensions with Kosovo, and criticized Turkey for its human rights record and insufficient reforms.

In its annual report on countries lining up to join the EU, the EU executive said Belgrade also had to make more effort to reform its justice system and protect the independence of its central bank.

Belgrade won the coveted status of EU candidate in March but needs the Commission's green light to start actual talks, in a process likely to take years.

"Steps leading to the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina should also be addressed in the context ... of further accession negotiations with Serbia," EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule said.

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