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J. Joksimović and Bilčík: Serbia is constructively cooperating with the European Parliament

November 14 2019 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović and Bilčík: Serbia is constructively cooperating with the European Parliament

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović held discussions with newly appointed European Parliament (EP) rapporteur for Serbia, Vladimir Bilčík, concerning our country's plans and activities in the continuation of the accession process, the results of reforms being implemented over the course of the European integration process, the situation in the EU and other topics.

Jadranka Joksimović stressed that Serbia was committed to the continuation of European integration, that full EU membership was a strategic foreign policy interest of our country, which is clearly determined to implement reforms – the reforms and the implementation of European values, norms and standards provide conditions for overall progress and the development of the state and society.

minister also indicated that Serbia expected the EU to specify its own interests and clearly define enlargement policy. According to her, this means that we respect the moment and the situation in the EU and its need to reform, but at the same time we expect that any change in the methodology of negotiations would not slow down our clearly defined path towards the EU.

Joksimović briefed Bilčík on comprehensive progress in implementing reforms. She emphasized that Serbia - as the leading country in the region regarding EU membership - was paying special attention to reforms - in particular with respect to chapters 23 and 24, namely in the area of the ​​rule of law, reform of the judiciary, fight against crime and corruption and media freedom. In this regard, she also noted that the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Cooperation and Meeting the Recommendations of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights had already made concrete conclusions regarding further improvements in electoral conditions - not only because of EU expectations, but above all the accountability to further improvement of democratic procedures for Serbian citizens.

Joksimović also informed Bilčík that Serbia expected to open new chapters by the end of the year, based on its evident performance in implementing reforms in the areas of chapters 23 and 24, confirming the credible enlargement strategy left by the previous European Commission (EC) convening as a legacy to the new convocation. Joksimović praised the statements of new EC President Ursula von der Leyen, who repeatedly spoke in a responsible manner about the European perspective of the region, indicating that a credible enlargement strategy, adopted in 2018, would be the document implemented by the new EC.

Minister also emphasized that Serbia placed particular emphasis on stability, which also has effect on cooperation, development and progress of the region. In this regard, she assessed that the initiative of President Aleksandar Vučić on the so-called mini Schengen was in line with best European practices and fundamental European values, thus showing that Serbia was responsible towards its own European path, as well as towards others in the region.

New EP rapporteur for Serbia Vladimir Bilčík said it was a big mistake that North Macedonia and Albania had not been given a date to start negotiations. Simultaneously, he expressed his opinion that he did not think it was negative that there was a comprehensive high-level debate among EU countries on the enlargement process. He also indicated that he would advocate for the enlargement process to be at the top of the EU’s priorities. Bilčík also expressed his satisfaction at receiving such a responsible and crucial task as EP rapporteur, bearing in mind that Serbia was undeniably a serious candidate for membership and a country on which the EU counted on.

Bilčík confirmed that the European Parliament would continue to support Serbia's European integration, but also to encourage reforms. He stressed that the European path of our country would depend on the progress in their implementation - above all in the domain of democracy, the rule of law and freedoms.

Joksimović expressed her expectations that Vladimir Bilčík would show full commitment, engagement and objectivity at his new position and that Serbia would cooperate in the most constructive manner with the EP and with him personally, as EP rapporteur for Serbia.

Source: Tanjug