Information News

J. Joksimović: Croatian EU Presidency to continue with the Credible Enlargement Strategy

January 03 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Croatian EU Presidency to continue with the Credible Enlargement Strategy

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has welcomed today the beginning of the Croatian EU Council Presidency saying that she expects from that country, as an EU Member State from the region, to contribute to the qualitative improvement of the enlargement process, and to sincerely advocate the evaluation of individual results of candidate countries and potential candidate countries.

"Croatia, as the youngest Member State of the EU, has the additional responsibility to actively support the implementation of the EU's 2018 Credible Enlargement Strategy, in which Serbia has been recognised as one of the frontrunners in that process in the region. I also expect this to take shape within the new Multi-annual EU Financial Framework, i.e. through the adoption of the new EU budget, which will be discussed during the Croatian Presidency," Joksimović has told Tanjug on the occasion of the beginning of the Croatian EU Council Presidency on 1 January 2020.

Talking about the pace of chapter opening, Joksimović has said that it is still not in line with the pace at which Serbia is submitting its negotiation documentation and implementing the reforms.

She has recalled that, by the end of the Finnish EU Presidency, Serbia had formally submitted four negotiating positions: Chapter 2 - Freedom of movement for workers, Chapter 3 - Right of establishment and freedom to provide services, Chapter 14 - Transport policy, and Chapter 21 - Trans-European networks.

According to her, the negotiating position for Chapter 27 - Environment and Climate Change will soon be submitted, adding that, with the aforementioned economic chapters, it coincides with the perspectives expressed in the speech of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

This means that, during the Croatian EU Council Presidency, Serbia will have five negotiation chapters fully prepared at the technical level, some of which are within the scope of the European Green Deal, the Minister has stressed.

"I would particularly like to stress this because I think there is a slowdown in the pace of chapter opening, despite the fact that Serbia is not decelerating its reform process but, on the contrary, it is implementing all its reforms consistently and in accordance with the European policies," Joksimović has said.

Joksimović has said that Serbia understands that the European Union has turned its attention to internal challenges in recent months, but added that Serbia, as a candidate country, which has been recognised as the frontrunner in this process, expects greater commitment from the European Commission in respect of the enlargement process.

Undoubtedly, the success of the Croatian Presidency will, in addition to the proclaimed priorities, be measured by its approach towards the region, Joksimović has said, adding that, naturally, all Member States jointly make decisions regarding the opening of new negotiation chapters with the candidate countries, as well as on the opening of accession negotiations with potential candidate countries.

"Therefore, an important event will be the EU-Western Balkans Summit to be held in May this year, as an opportunity to discuss the realities and challenges, as well as the chances and opportunities for enlargement, at the highest level" Joksimović has said.

She has added that such a format of meeting is of the utmost importance for the citizens, because it sends an unambiguous message that the EU is still counting on the region.

"In this respect, Serbia has been conducting the accession process based on the best European standards, in good faith and in the interest of its citizens, from the very beginning of the negotiations," Joksimović has said.

She has stressed that Serbia is responsibly committed to reforms, and will continue to implement them in a responsible manner, as it has been doing so far. The Minister has stressed that the European Union remains a key partner, and that Serbia hopes that this relationship will continue to be strengthened and developed during the six-month Croatian Presidency over the EU Council.

Asked by Tanjug to comment on the issue of bilateral matters, Jadranka Joksimović has said that she expects Croatia to take a responsible and objective stance, and that there is no room for any announcements of including bilateral issues in the continuation of negotiations.

Source: Tanjug