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Enlargement policy should be a confirmation of the EU’s sovereignty

October 21 2019 | Belgrade

Enlargement policy should be a confirmation of the EU’s sovereignty

With the announcement of a new methodology for conducting accession negotiations, which is not yet in the form of a formal proposal, the French President clearly wanted to make a penetrating move that would re-position the role of France not only within the EU but also in the so-called Western Balkans region, although I prefer the more established term - South-East Europe. And that is legitimate, although I am not certain that the revision of the methodology and bases of enlargement policy is truly an urgent need of reforming common European policies and institutions. There are plenty of other priority activities for Member States and the new European Commission, but that is why it seems to some Member States that it is most opportunistic to move on from what is still ante portas. The aforementioned are candidate countries and potential candidates.

Enlargement policy should basically be a reaffirmation of sovereignty of the European Union, not succumbing to a “game of fear” from this or that geopolitical influence that could fill the “vacuum” in the Western Balkans, if the EU's gravitational force of integration would be weakened in that truly missing part for the Union’s completeness rather than its “backyard”. The only valid change is recognizing the potential of Serbia and other candidates to increase the EU's overall value, political and economic global competitiveness, instead of constantly referring to the challenges of security and stability.

I am not certain that the revision of the methodology and bases of enlargement policy is truly an urgent need of reforming common European policies and institutions 

 A key factor in achieving the national development agenda is the country's membership in the European Union. That is why our policy of European integration is responsibly guided in every aspect, and that is what President Vučić and our government are implementing in synergy and with effective persistence.

In the accession process so far, Serbia has opened 17 chapters, 2 of which have been provisionally closed. Furthermore, there are 4 chapters fully technically prepared for opening: freedom of movement for workers, free movement of capital, transport and Trans-European networks. Preparations have advanced as regards negotiation positions for the following chapters: 3 - Right of establishment and freedom to provide services, 10 - Information society and media, 27 - Environment and climate change and 28 - Consumer and health protection.

By the way, Serbia is the first candidate country to start negotiations by opening the most demanding so-called suspensive chapters, 23 and 24. In our case, also chapter 35. And nobody was in any way “lenient” even a bit. On the contrary, not four but eight eyes are directed towards Serbia. And may it be so, we don't mind. Let the less demanding complain.

We, as a favoured country for membership, first and foremost, our President Aleksandar Vučić, have shown that we understand the excess responsibility that we have in respect of ourselves and others. The challenge that is real for the whole region is the lack of consent from the European Union to open accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Albania.

The Republic of Serbia and President Vučić have tried to prevent this kind of development turning into negative regional dynamics by deepening EU organization values in the region, from people and ideas to goods and money, which is increasingly strengthening our advantages while reducing the vulnerabilities that we suffer from and that we strive to eliminate.

Serbia is ready through active and effective multilateral engagement in the region to prevent any danger of having a “busy waiting room and standing in a place situation” that creates not only pain in the feet, but also in the heads of citizens, which could become a serious threat if they do not notice the “dividends” of EU membership. Furthermore, when over the course of election cycles irresponsible political parties that desire to harm the Government and the Serbian Progressive Party have intentions to benefit from this kind of sentiment, thus acting detrimentally in relation to the citizens of Serbia, then every prepared chapter that the European Union does not agree to open with us during the negotiations represents a greater challenge in meeting the aspirations of those 53 percent who would have voted in favour of Serbia's EU membership today.

Source: Politika