J. Joksimović and Jarc: Slovenia's concrete support for Serbia's European integration
September 30 2019 | Belgrade
Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and newly appointed Ambassador of Slovenia Iztok Jarc have held a meeting during which they discussed matters relating to the European integration of Serbia, reforms being implemented within this process, cooperation between the two countries in the continuation of Serbia’s European path, bilateral relations, the situation in the region and the EU and other topics.
Jadranka Joksimović briefed the Slovenian ambassador on plans for continued accession, the timetable for implementing reforms and the opening of new chapters. She emphasized, in this sense, that EU membership was a strategic foreign policy priority that had the support of the majority of citizens, which had been confirmed by recently conducted opinion polls. She stressed that a great deal of attention was being paid to reforms in the European integration process - their implementation was supported by 68 percent of the citizens, due to the fact that application of European norms and standards created an environment for the development of the state and society, as well as conditions for inflow of foreign investments. Therefore, the minister said, reforms in the economic and rule of law segments were particularly vital. She specified that Serbia expected to open new chapters by the end of the Finnish EU Council Presidency.
The Minister thanked Slovenia for its support to Serbia in the process of European integration, as well as for the long-standing development and technical assistance - in particular in the fields of environmental protection, water management and cohesion policy, that had been provided by Slovenian experts during the EU accession negotiations. The appointment of experts from the field of cohesion policy and regional development to the Ministry of European Integration, which is in charge of negotiations under Chapter 22 - Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments, has been agreed upon. Joksimović and Jarc agreed that it was of common interest to continue and strengthen coordination in the segment of European macro-regional strategies - in particular the Danube Region Strategy, and regional initiatives such as the Central European Initiative and the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative.
Jadranka Joksimović stated that Serbia was committed to regional cooperation that ensured stability, progress and development. She stressed that Serbia advocated a sustainable, lasting and compromise solution for Kosovo and Metohija and that Belgrade was ready to continue the dialogue as soon as Pristina withdrew its unilateral and illegitimate decision to impose tariffs on goods from Central Serbia, which, otherwise, represented a gross violation of the CEFTA Agreement.
Ambassador Iztok Jarc stated that Slovenia supported the EU's enlargement policy and would continue to promote Serbia's European integration. He said that the effect of the reforms was visible, that they should be intensified and that it was positive that reforms from the areas of rule of law and economy were recognized as important. Jarc confirmed that the region was one of the priorities of Slovenia’s foreign policy, which could be confirmed by the fact that the Western Balkans was Slovenia's priority in providing development and technical assistance. He also praised Serbia's commitment to establish better relations within the region - particularly since the state-of-play in the area also influenced the situation in the EU.
The interlocutors stated that bilateral relations between the two countries were good and that there was a mutual interest to intensify them in all fields.