J. Joksimović: Serbia is ready for a set of new chapters

May 07 2018 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Serbia is ready for a set of new chapters

Serbia is ready to open new chapters, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated today, adding that she expected that at least three of them would be opened by the end of June.
“We are ready for a whole set of new chapters, five chapters, Chapter 33 on financial and budgetary provisions, Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policy, Chapter 18 on statistics, Chapter 9 on financial services and Chapter 13 concerning fisheries. We are also preparing some new negotiating positions. I do not believe we will open all five by the end of June, but I think that, taking into account the progress noted in the EC Report, there will certainly be more than two. I expect at least three chapters,” the Minister told Happy TV.

Commenting on allegations that Serbia is Russia’s “Trojan horse” and comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron that the EU enlargement process should be postponed, Joksimović has emphasised that Serbia has its own interests.
“We are not a “Trojan horse” of anyone's interests. The perception of Serbia in the world is much better now than it was before and we are a respected country because we represent it, together with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, in the best possible way. The talks we are holding with the EU are on a very open and high political and often friendly and pleasant level,” she has stated.

As she has underlined, credibility cannot be built with false promises and “with things you cannot achieve.”
“This Government, like the previous ones, has stated what it can and how much it can do. Moderation and responsible resolve to deal with issues that are not simple is courage that shows how much determination and confidence we have. In international relations, patience and honesty give results. Honesty is the best policy,” Joksimović has stated.

The Minister has further said that she opposes the idea of negotiating with the EU within a “package”.
“I am an opponent of the package and everyone knows it, both in the Government of Serbia and the EU, and I am a person who does not respond to pressure. We are showing flexibility with regard to our interests and the needs of negotiations. The package does not make any sense because you have to measure the progress of each country that is in the package. Some countries are at different stages, so this is not a realistic image. Serbia and Montenegro have made the most progress,” she has said.

As she has noted, there are 35 chapters and each chapter is special.
“Laws, adoption of laws, standards, adjustments... When a chapter is opened that means that there is a sufficient level of alignment with EU norms, then you continue with the reforms, and when you have completely aligned everything with the EU, that chapter is closed,” she has stated.

She has highlighted that the most difficult chapters are 23 and 24 regarding the rule of law, judicial reform, the fight against corruption, organised crime, migration, security etc.
“These are the chapters that are opened first and closed the last because the whole system changes through these chapters, and I would say even more than that. All countries went through it, and there are even some EU Member States that are now undergoing this process. The perception of the world and the way of life are changing. In a post-transition country, it's not easy to start changing the majority of things and start thinking differently. We are focusing on ourselves, thus facilitating a more certain entry into the EU,” Joksimović has said.

As regards the legally binding agreement for Kosovo and Metohija, the Minister has stressed that it should be defined through negotiations and talks.
“Imagine entering negotiations where everything is known in advance. That is not the way to do things. The Brussels Agreement must be completed up to the last point. We have done almost everything that is required of us, while the other side has not. We also have our own interests that have to be respected, the CSM has not been formed for five years. I have stated that the EU is partly to blame that this has not been achieved because, having put its signature, the EU had to be a stronger guarantor of the implementation of this agreement,” she has said.

As she has pointed out, when the Brussels Agreement was negotiated, there were clear obligations on both sides.
“Pristina has shown greater capacity for threat and violence than a capacity for dialogue and compromise. I am sorry that the EU did not pressure Pristina earlier to do what it was supposed to and now the results of this lenience can be seen,” the Minister has said.

Joksimović has stressed that the upcoming “Western Balkans and EU” Summit in Sofia is extremely important for Serbia.
“The summit is significant because there will be talks about connectivity and infrastructure projects that will be financed in good part from EU funds. This is crucial for us. Our regional sustainable development depends on the development of local and regional road network infrastructure. It is a part of the common European transport network and it is in their interest as well. Enlargement policy is the EU policy. I am of the opinion that we need to use everything we can to do what is  best for our country and that it is very important that we show up anywhere where we have something to say about Serbia, Joksimović has said, asking “why should we allow others to talk about us without us being present to express our own views?”

Source: TV Happy and Tanjug