J. Joksimović: Chapter 31 unlikely to open by the end of the year

31. July 2018. | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Chapter 31 unlikely to open by the end of the year

Lithuania still opposes Serbia opening Negotiation Chapter 31 on foreign, security and defence policy, primarily due to relations between Belgrade and Moscow, and Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović says that it will probably not happen by the end of the year.
“The negotiation procedure is such that if mid-year you know that the Screening Report has not been adopted, it is clear that the chapter will unlikely be opened by the end of the year”, said Joksimović for Novosti discussing whether the opening of Chapter 31 should be expected by the end of the year and why the Screening Report has been pending for four years.
“Chapter 31 is usually not too difficult, but as the international relations became more complicated, the EU countries themselves had to make adjustments to reach consensus on some issues, and expectations of some members have somewhat changed towards candidates”, said the Minister.

Answering the question on whether Lithuania is the only country within the EU that opposes Belgrade opening this chapter, Joksimović has explained that the EU rules state that the Screening Report for Chapter 31 is the subject of a closed discussion in a diplomatic format among the 28 EU Member States.
“It should be understood that, in assessing each matter of importance regarding foreign and security policy, the EU members start from their own national interests raising it to the level of EU common policy through consensus. The candidate country is expected to gradually achieve alignment with the EU common foreign and security policy until accession”, said Joksimović.

She has pointed to the fact that Serbia is one of the countries in the region that contributes the most to European security.
“We proved that over the course of our OSCE chairmanship, during the migrant crisis, in the fight against terrorism. As a country that is not a member of any military and political alliance, we have the obligation and the right to take account of our own security and our own national interests. Serbia’s foreign policy is in coordination with such defined national security policy, and the European integration is certainly a framework and our foreign policy priority”, said Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug