Jadranka Joksimović for RTS: Provocative rhetoric from the region that must not be heard

29. August 2017. | Belgrade

Jadranka Joksimović for RTS: Provocative rhetoric from the region that must not be heard

Appearing on RTS, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović said that there was a continuity of provocative rhetoric from the region and that in such circumstances it was not easy to stay calm and committed to cooperation, as President Aleksandar Vučić did.

Commenting on the statement from Croatia that "all the evil in the region comes from Belgrade", in her appearance for RTS Dnevnik, Joksimović said that such words had come from the assistant minister, from whom such rhetoric must never be heard.

As she stated, such rhetoric particularly must not be directed towards a neighbouring country that is in the process of European integration.

Today, the Croatian ambassador in Belgrade is paying a farewell visit to Aleksandar Vučić and Jadranka Joksimović, and the Minister said that this was an opportunity to convey our views and expectations to Croatia.

"This must not be allowed to happen, and I expect the EU to convey a message to Croatia that good neighbourly relations are not maintained in this way, but rather undermined," the Minister said.

Commenting on yesterday's arrest of a man from the group of displaced Serbs in Mušutište, Joksimović said that this was an indicator of Pristina's lack of readiness to cooperate and ensure the safe return and survival of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.

She said it was good that Vučić would be attending the meeting on Thursday with Hashim Thaçi and Federica Mogherini, as this was the opportunity to express expectations and comments.

"It is not easy to behave responsibly in such conditions; this is where bad politicians differ from those who are capable and responsible. We have to participate, to attend meetings and express our views," Joksimović said.

She recalled that the European External Action Service submits its report on the progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina twice a year.

"I think it is clear who is responsible for the delay in the dialogue, and it is certainly not Belgrade," the Minister said, adding that the high level political dialogue is the best instrument for the normalisation of relations and preparing for technical meetings.

Asked about the allegations of increased pressure on Serbia regarding Russia, Joksimović said that Serbia is a sovereign country pursuing a very responsible policy.

She pointed out that the politicisation of the topic on Negotiation Chapter 31 (Common Foreign and Security Policy) is not good, and recalled that Serbia contributes to combating EU's security challenges regarding the migrant crisis.

She also pointed out that EU countries have different relations with Russia, and that Serbia is guided by its own interests.

"We do not represent either Russian or others’ interests, we represent our own," Joksimović said.

With regard to IPA funds, the Minister pointed out that the projects being implemented were very visible.

She said that the EU is the largest donor in Serbia and that its funds are available to us - EUR 1.5 billion in grants from 2014 to 2020.

This money is used to build sewage systems, water purification plants, for schools, hospitals, roads, flood recovery etc.

She said that her ministry deals with EU funds as much as it deals with EU negotiations.