J. Joksimović: McAllister is coming to hear Serbia’s comments
October 04 2018 | Belgrade
“European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia David McAllister is meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić tonight in Belgrade. McAllister is coming to Belgrade to hear Serbia’s comments and opinion on the draft resolution on the progress on the European path”, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said in her statement for RTS.
As a guest of RTS Dnevnik, Jadranka Joksimović has said that this is a regular visit by McAllister who is not only the European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia, but also the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“Those who are familiar with the region see how much Serbia has invested in the dialogue”
The Minister has said that David McAllister and EU Rapporteur for Kosovo Igor Šoltes are among few officials who have openly stated that every solution for Kosovo reached by the two sides should be supported.
She has added that McAllister is often in the region and that, if you sit in the office and read reports, you cannot grasp the situation, which leads to frequent bureaucratic talk.
“But those who are here and are familiar with the region see how much Serbia has invested in the process of dialogue and reconciliation, and how others behave inappropriately”, said Joksimović.
The Minister has explained that a resolution on Serbia’s progress is now being prepared based on the April Progress Report.
She has stated that the resolution contains both political comments and assessments on the implementation of reforms, and that McAllister is coming to hear Serbia’s opinion on amendments proposed by MEPs.
Joksimović has said that many MEPs have not been following what has been done in Serbia in the meantime and which laws have been adopted. The President will inform McAllister thereon tonight, and she will meet with him tomorrow.
“We are constantly doing our job, it is on us to communicate and promote what Serbia is doing”, said Joksimović.
She has further pointed out that the European Parliament is an institution that, in addition to performing co-decision with other institutions, is the largest debate forum in Europe where public opinion is created.
Asked why commendations Serbia has received refer to the progress achieved in economy, public administration reform, approach to the migrant crisis and continuous engagement regarding Kosovo and Metohija, and why remarks refer to the judiciary reform and the situation in the media, the Minister has emphasised that those are the usual topics, adding that there is progress in every area.
Since the largest number of amendments was submitted by MEPs from Croatia and Slovenia, the Minister has said that the neighbours are interested in Serbia’s European path, but that there are many amendments aimed at including bilateral matters into the resolution.
She does not believe that these amendments will pass and says that she expects a balanced and good resolution.
“European integration - a matter of procedures”
Speaking about the fact that Serbia is invited to gradually align its foreign and security policy with the EU policy, Joksimović has highlighted a formulation that she found interesting: “we are urgently invited to gradually align” the foreign and security policy.
She has noted that Serbia has an obligation to align its foreign and security policy until full membership, that certain countries have expectations, but that that cannot be a formal condition, because European integration is a matter of procedures and “if you want to be relevant, you have to comply with your own procedures”.
With regard to remarks on the visa-free regime with Iran, Joksimović has said that Serbia is aware of the concerns certain countries have, recalling the joint work with the German police and Frontex.
She has emphasised that those are the things that demonstrate Serbia’s responsibility to itself and to others. However, she has said that the reason for introducing a visa-free regime is Serbia’s right to pursue political and economic interests.
Speaking about the opening of new negotiation chapters, the Minister has said that five chapters have been prepared and that there are elements for Serbia’s progress. She has pointed to the fact that there are many who do not want Serbia to make progress.
“Bad news for them - we are not giving up”, said Joksimović.