J. Joksimović and Schieb: Serbia is showing progress in its reforms
September 26 2018 | Belgrade
Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has held a meeting with newly-appointed Ambassador of Germany Thomas Schieb during which they discussed the European integration of Serbia and the continuation of mutual cooperation in that process, the effects of reforms that are being implemented in the accession negotiations, the situation in the region and bilateral relations.
At the meeting it was assessed that relations between the two countries were at a high level, that there was mutual commitment to strengthening overall cooperation and that Germany was a significant economic and political partner of Serbia that provided important support in the process of European integration. Expressing her gratitude for that, the Minister highlighted that in the previous 15 years Germany had allocated more than EUR 1.6 billion in grants for numerous development projects in Serbia.
Jadranka Joksimović introduced Thomas Schieb to plans relating to the accession process. It is expected that, by the end of the year - by the end of Austria’s EU Council presidency, Serbia would open some of the chapters for which it is prepared at the technical level. She informed the ambassador that negotiating positions for chapters 9 - Financial services, 18 - Statistics, 17 - Economic and monetary policy had recently been prepared and that negotiating positions for chapters 2 - Freedom of movement for workers and 4 - Free movement of capital had recently been submitted, as well as that negotiating positions for some other chapters were under preparation.
Joksimović stated that Serbia attached remarkable importance to reforms, because they are - through the application of European values, aimed at improving citizens' standard and building a modern state. She and Schieb agreed that in this regard, the reforms in chapters 23 and 24 - the fields of judiciary, fight against crime and corruption, minority rights, and media freedoms - were extremely vital. The Minister stressed that the Government accepted and acknowledged all recommendations of the Venice Commission regarding constitutional amendments in the field of judiciary and conducted a transparent and inclusive public debate process.
Joksimović informed Schieb that the Government adopted the Law on Free Legal Aid, as well as the Law on Personal Data Protection, and that the Law on Prevention of Corruption was in its final stage of preparation. According to her, this is a crucial set of laws from Chapter 23, which is extremely important for the Member States that, based on the progress in these areas, decide on the opening of new chapters.
Ambassador Thomas Schieb confirmed that Germany had noticed progress in Chapter 23, which would be significant for the decision on the opening of other chapters.
He commended the economic reforms and the stable macro-economic framework of Serbia. He said that Germany would continue to support Serbia's European integration - which is based on the fulfilment of criteria, since, as he said, Serbia had proven to be a serious candidate for membership through its attitude towards the European integration process, its reform results and by advocating the stability of the region - which also affects the stability of the Union. He also pointed out that Serbia had proven to be an important and reliable partner of the EU, through its constructive attitude towards the migrant crisis, terrorism and other issues vital for the EU.