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J. Joksimović: A change in the enlargement policy is not paramount to EU reform

November 13 2019 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: A change in the enlargement policy is not paramount to EU reform

“I am certain that the EU and its Member States have important internal reform issues at this moment, but it amazes me that the story has 'turned upside down, instead of on its feet', so changes in the enlargement policy have become the main topic of discussion", stated Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović.

She noted that the public and the media were discussing how the future of enlargement policy and possible changes in the methodology would affect Serbia's European path, stressing that Serbia had a clear negotiating framework.
“Serbia is a country that is deep in the accession process, it has been opening chapters and it has a clear negotiating framework. We are not satisfied with the pace as we are of the opinion that we can go faster, but we appreciate the current circumstances in the EU and the need for the EU and individual countries to reform in order to become more united, better and more powerful”, Joksimović stated at the opening of the Applied Nostalgia exhibition within the project implemented by the Ministry of European Integration.

Joksimović expressed her expectation that the EU's focus in the coming period would be on internal reforms rather than on enlargement policy, although, as she stated, the topic of enlargement policy was highlighted as the most significant topic for the EU.

Joksimović assessed that the issue of EU enlargement had not at any moment slowed down the reform momentum in Serbia, which was, as she stressed, preparing new negotiating positions; she expressed her expectations that an intergovernmental conference would be held by the end of Finland's EU presidency and that Serbia would open some of the four prepared chapters by the end of the year.
“I believe that it is realistic to open one or two chapters given the moment and atmosphere in the EU, but it is vital for Serbia to continue its reform process”, Joksimović said.

She reflected on comments on the Little Schengen Regional Initiative, recalling that the idea originated from Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić two weeks before a negative response had arrived from Brussels regarding the opening of negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, adding that it was fully in line with best European practices and fundamental European values.

She indicated that through this initiative Serbia had shown a comprehensive responsibility towards itself and its European path, but also towards others, as well as that Serbia's goal and interest were for the region to prosper.
“I was confused by some arguments from the region that it was not good for their economies to participate in the regional market. How do they plan to participate in the European market then, which is much larger, more significant and demanding”, Joksimović asked.

She added that the initiative demonstrated the ability and willingness of the countries in the region to participate in an intra-regional and, in the future, a common European market, emphasizing that this idea had no hidden intentions from the part of Belgrade.
“This initiative has not only an economic effect but also the importance of people's diplomacy, as well as the effect of getting to know people, changing perceptions and prejudices ... At the end, every citizen desires a better and more meaningful opportunity for their personal and professional progress. Our citizens are most interested in an economic standard, which is natural and normal, and that is why they support the process of regional cooperation and the process of European integration”, said Joksimović.

She reiterated that Serbia was continuing its European path and expressed hope that it would not slow down, because, as she said, there was no reason to do so.

She recalled that EU Member States should receive an informal document on the status of implementation of Chapters 23 and 24 these days, according to which, she said, they should adopt a decision on how many chapters Serbia can open by the end of the year.
“Yesterday we signed an Agreement on Cooperation between Serbia and Eurojust, which is one of the transitional benchmarks for improving not only cooperation of judicial authorities and prosecutors' offices between European countries and Serbia, but also evidence of Serbia's complete commitment and transparency in joint fight against organized crime and other common challenges facing European countries”, stated Joksimović.

She added that Serbia had prepared a thorough Draft Media Strategy in the previous period and that it had launched a dialogue on electoral conditions with the mediation of the European Parliament, whereby, she said, it showed full transparency and openness to improve the general environment for elections.

The Minister stressed that there were significant activities in the implementation of obligations relating to Chapters 23 and 24 and that there were sufficient arguments for Member States to support the opening of new chapters.

Source: Tanjug

“I am certain that the EU and its Member States have important internal reform issues at this moment, but it amazes me that the story has 'turned upside down, instead of on its feet', so changes in the enlargement policy have become the main topic of discussion", stated Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović.

She noted that the public and the media were discussing how the future of enlargement policy and possible changes in the methodology would affect Serbia's European path, stressing that Serbia had a clear negotiating framework.
“Serbia is a country that is deep in the accession process, it has been opening chapters and it has a clear negotiating framework. We are not satisfied with the pace as we are of the opinion that we can go faster, but we appreciate the current circumstances in the EU and the need for the EU and individual countries to reform in order to become more united, better and more powerful”, Joksimović stated at the opening of the Applied Nostalgia exhibition within the project implemented by the Ministry of European Integration.

Joksimović expressed her expectation that the EU's focus in the coming period would be on internal reforms rather than on enlargement policy, although, as she stated, the topic of enlargement policy was highlighted as the most significant topic for the EU.

Joksimović assessed that the issue of EU enlargement had not at any moment slowed down the reform momentum in Serbia, which was, as she stressed, preparing new negotiating positions; she expressed her expectations that an intergovernmental conference would be held by the end of Finland's EU presidency and that Serbia would open some of the four prepared chapters by the end of the year.
“I believe that it is realistic to open one or two chapters given the moment and atmosphere in the EU, but it is vital for Serbia to continue its reform process”, Joksimović said.

She reflected on comments on the Little Schengen Regional Initiative, recalling that the idea originated from Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić two weeks before a negative response had arrived from Brussels regarding the opening of negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, adding that it was fully in line with best European practices and fundamental European values.

She indicated that through this initiative Serbia had shown a comprehensive responsibility towards itself and its European path, but also towards others, as well as that Serbia's goal and interest was for the region to prosper.
“I was confused by some arguments from the region that it was not good for their economies to participate in the regional market. How do they plan to participate in the European market then, which is much larger, more significant and demanding”, Joksimović asked.

She added that the initiative demonstrated the ability and willingness of the countries in the region to participate in an intra-regional and, in the future, a common European market, emphasizing that this idea had no hidden intentions from the part of Belgrade.
“This initiative has not only an economic effect but also the importance of people's diplomacy, as well as the effect of getting to know people, changing perceptions and prejudices ... At the end, every citizen desires a better and more meaningful opportunity for their personal and professional progress. Our citizens are most interested in economic standard, which is natural and normal, and that is why they support the process of regional cooperation and the process of European integration”, said Joksimović.

She reiterated that Serbia was continuing its European path and expressed hope that it would not slow down, because, as she said, there was no reason to do so.

She recalled that the EU Member States should receive an informal document on the status of implementation of Chapters 23 and 24 these days, according to which, she said, they should adopt a decision on how many chapters Serbia can open by the end of the year.
“Yesterday we signed an Agreement on Cooperation between Serbia and Eurojust, which is one of the transitional benchmarks for improving not only cooperation of judicial authorities and prosecutors' offices between European countries and Serbia, but also evidence of Serbia's complete commitment and transparency in joint fight against organized crime and other common challenges facing European countries”, stated Joksimović.

She added that Serbia had prepared a thorough Draft Media Strategy in the previous period, and that it had launched a dialogue on electoral conditions with the mediation of the European Parliament, whereby, she said, it showed full transparency and openness to improve the general environment for elections.

The Minister stressed that there were significant activities in the implementation of obligations relating to Chapters 23 and 24 and that there were sufficient arguments for the Member States to support the opening of new chapters.

Source: Tanjug