J. Joksimović: We rightfully expect more certain deadlines for accession

20. December 2017. | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: We rightfully expect more certain deadlines for accession

At this point of negotiations, timelines for the European Union accession are very important for Serbia as a candidate country for EU membership and it can rightfully seek and expect more certain deadlines, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović said today. 

At the opening of the seventh meeting of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, Joksimović said that if Serbia, as a candidate country for EU membership, is expected to set and meet deadlines, then Serbia, as a candidate country and a country in a partnership relation, may reasonably seek and expect more certain deadlines.
“You need to have credible responses as to the direction of this process”, said Joksimović and added that it would contribute to an improved enthusiasm and a greater momentum for reforms, as well as to preservation of the credibility of accession process and EU enlargement policy, as anticipated by President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker. 

She estimated that the “political levelling” in the EU enlargement policy is not good because, as she explained, it can underestimate some candidates while overestimating the others. Noting that she respected the need for the Western Balkan region to cooperate, Joksimović said that the “political levelling was not the optimum approach”, and that the criteria for individual assessment of the candidate countries were the only valid criteria.

The minister stated that Bulgaria, which would take over the six-month presidency of the EU as of 1 January, announced a summit of the Western Balkan countries in Sofia, and she expected that the summit “would not be discouraging for the most progressive ones”.

She also underlined that Juncker’s statement about the year 2025 as the best scenario for the accession of Serbia and Montenegro to the Union should not be diluted and relativised. She stated that there had also been practice to set deadlines that ultimately appeared as unrealistic, too ambitious, populistic and demagogic at the time, and underlined that timelines were very important at this stage of negotiations and all the events within the EU and the Western Balkans EU candidate countries.

The minister said that, if a country started the accession process that implied transformations and reforms, one had to have a credible response from the other side as to the direction of the process and the anticipated moment of accession.

She underlined that the very enlargement process implied membership. She assessed that this was a good moment to summarize the year 2017, stating that there were some good things in the enlargement process, rises as well as falls, and disappointments as regards the number of opened chapters.

She reminded that, in the year 2017, Serbia opened six chapters, four during the Maltese presidency and another two during the Estonian presidency. After the messages of the high official of the EU Federica Mogherini, stating that Serbia had achieved exceptional progress, as well as Juncker’s statement, she reasonably expected that three chapters would be opened instead of two.

“The EU member states have differently decided. We shall not mourn“, said Joksimović and wondered about the narrow perception about the opening of chapters which were, she said, the best instrument for supervising and monitoring the reforms.

The opening of six chapters in 2017 is not a bad score, the minister said and underlined that it could have been better.

She stated that the Government of Serbia would invest all its efforts into acceleration of accession process and underlined that Serbia would, during Bulgarian presidency starting from 1 January, have three negotiation positions prepared i.e. for Chapter 33 - Financial and Budgetary Provisions, Chapter 9 - Financial Services, Banking and Insurance Sector and Chapter 13 - Fisheries. 

She pointed out that the work in other chapters was also intensive, and that Serbia would certainly have another three or four negotiating positions prepared.

(source: Tanjug)