J. Joksimović and Godfrey: The US strongly supports Serbia's reforms and European path
November 27 2019 | Belgrade
Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has held a meeting with new US Ambassador Anthony Godfrey during which they discussed issues such as support for Serbia's European integration, the effects of reforms being implemented, the situation in the region, bilateral relations and other topics.
Jadranka Joksimović has expressed her gratitude for the concrete assistance and support provided by the US to Serbia's European integration. In particular, she has emphasized that the messages of support for Serbia's European path, which Ambassador Godfrey recently delivered, are very encouraging. She has also stated that in cooperation with USAID, a number of specific development projects have been implemented – such as reforms, capacity building of local governments and local economic development, adding that there is room for further cooperation through strengthening strategic communication within the European integration process.
The Minister has stressed that EU membership is Serbia's foreign policy priority and that Serbia is committed to implementing reforms that, above all, are seen as a model for comprehensive change that is directed towards the development and progress of society and the state. She has indicated that special emphasis is placed on the reforms in the fields of rule of law and economy and that the results achieved in these and other areas have created a positive development environment - confirmed through the interest of foreign companies - among others, from the United States, which are welcome as investors in the Serbian economy.
In this context, Jadranka Joksimović has conveyed expectations that Serbia will open at least one negotiation chapter by the end of the year, at an Intergovernmental Conference that would be organized by Finland as the country presiding over the EU Council. She has said that Serbia does not perceive the opening of one chapter as great success or a realistic account of Serbia's reform progress, but in the circumstances of an as yet undefined European position on the future of the enlargement policy, it would be considered as a positive step for Serbia, as well as for the region and the sustainability of the enlargement policy.
As regards new ideas emerging with regard to the negotiation process, Joksimović has said that the negotiation models have already been changed once in Serbia - in terms of very demanding and strict conditions, but that it is necessary to maintain the credibility of the enlargement policy at the moment.
Ambassador Godfrey has confirmed that the US will continue to promote, support and encourage Serbia's European integration, as well as cooperation in the region. He has estimated that the results of the reforms are visible - in particular in the economy and in relation to attracting foreign investors, where progress has been made and noticed. He has also noted that there is progress in reforms concerning the rule of law, but that Serbia is also expected to intensify and accelerate reforms in this area. He has specified that Serbia has affirmed itself as a positive example of cooperation in the region and a favourable investment environment and that he intends to point that out to potential investors from the US.
Godfrey has stressed that it is the United States’ strategic interest that Serbia develops into a modern, democratic and economically advanced state that promotes peace and partnership in the region and at the same time strengthens the rule of law in the interest of its citizens.
The interlocutors have assessed that the relations between the two countries are good and that there is a sincere and mutual intention to develop them further, in particular through economic collaboration and cooperation in the fields of science and education.