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Joksimović and Falconi: France interested in our comments

November 19 2019 | Belgrade

Joksimović and Falconi: France interested in our comments

Serbian Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and French Ambassador Jean-Louis Falconi have discussed the future of the enlargement policy, Paris's views on the enlargement policy, current views on the direction of possible reforms in the EU and its common policies, as well as on regional relations, bilateral relations, and Serbia's accession process.

In an open and substantive discussion, Minister Joksimović has thanked the Ambassador for his initiative to further present France's positions regarding the so-called "non-paper" on possible changes to the methodology, which has drawn great attention of the domestic public, but also opened space for different interpretations and concerns. She has particularly thanked Ambassador Falconi for his engagement and for choosing the timing where, just as the EU Ministerial Meeting in Brussels is taking place, Serbia is also getting the opportunity to learn more about the ideas and plans presented to EU Member States in the non-paper. This shows that France values and respects Belgrade's opinion and position, and that they are open and willing to also hear out our comments, ideas, suggestions and concerns, especially given the fact that Serbia is an acceding country with a defined negotiating framework, with a specific and strict negotiation methodology which has never been applied in such a manner except in Serbia's case, and which to some extent coincides with some of the ideas presented in the non-paper.

Joksimović has stressed that Serbia is actively, and with interest, understanding, and patience, observing the proposals for EU reforms and enlargement policy, but, at the same time, that Serbia is actively acting within the accession process and implementing the commitments that it has undertaken. She has therefore expressed her expectation that, during the Finnish Presidency over the EU, the Member States will recognize the significant results Serbia has achieved in the implementation of commitments under chapters 23 and 24 by the end of the year, and that Serbia will be given approval for the opening of new chapters in the accession process.

The French Ambassador has stressed that France’s position is clear regarding the ultimate goal of the accession process - and that is full membership for candidates who carry out all the necessary reforms. He has presented in more detail the ideas contained in the non-paper, and has also stressed that they will certainly be thoroughly discussed among all Member States, because in order for them to be implemented, they must first be agreed upon within the EU, the new EC and all the Member States. He has emphasised that France recognizes Serbia as a serious acceding country, which is implementing important reforms in the area of the rule of law and economy. He has also underlined that it is of utmost importance for France to hear the views, positions, experiences and proposals and possible concerns of Serbia as a responsible candidate that is deeply invested in the accession process, with regard to the current manner and methodology of conducting negotiations, as well as the visible and concrete benefits of the process at this stage of negotiations.

Minister Joksimović has thanked Ambassador Falconi for his openness and willingness to listen to Serbia’s views, which shows that France has recognized Serbia as a country that has a high level of partnership relation with the EU in numerous issues of common interest and that, as before, it continues to be responsibly committed to continuing the European integration process.

The interlocutors have agreed that bilateral cooperation between the two countries is constantly rising, especially after President Macron's important visit to Serbia in July this year. The economic cooperation is extremely intensive, as evidenced by the recently established French Development Agency in Serbia with the aim of providing further impulses to the development of the economies of Serbia and France.

Source: Tanjug