J. Joksimović: The EU is yet to recognise the potentials of Serbia and Southeast Europe
October 04 2018 | Belgrade
This year has been marked by two policies - the enlargement strategy of the EU itself and the EU accession policy that has been promoted by Serbia as a candidate country, stated Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović today, assessing it as a good basis for upcoming 2019.
At the Seventh EU - Southeast Europe Summit ‘A sustainable recovery for the Balkans? - Serbia in a leading role’, organised by London-based The Economist, Joksimović highlighted that the EC had released a credible Enlargement Strategy, promoted in February and subsequently presented in Serbia by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
She underlined that that was essentially a regenerative EU strategy, with an emphasis on one of the best policies that had contributed the most to the regeneration of the Union - the enlargement policy.
On the other hand, she singled out the policy of EU accession that Serbia had been promoting as a candidate country, particularly after 2012, and even more since 2014 with the reform and innovative address of the then Prime Minister and the current President, Aleksandar Vučić.
“It is a policy of orientation to and indisputable paving of the path towards the EU as a foreign policy priority. We have proven the resilience of our accession policy, which is obviously still under pressure of a harsh love between the European enlargement policy and the candidate’s accession policy,” Joksimović noted at the event, whose media partner is Tanjug.
She underlined that Serbia had shown resilience, but so had the EU, because it had recognised the enlargement policy as part of its regeneration strategy.
“It is a good base for 2019, which could become a year where we would all sum up our positions and identify our options and problems,” said the Minister, who spoke in the Serbian language, expressing hope that this would be the first next official language of the Union.
According to her, in view of the 2030 sustainable development goals, the negotiation process provides an opportunity to show that the region of Southeast Europe (SEE) is innovatively daring and that Serbia is one of the most venturous countries in terms of innovation and creativity.
She said that this was demonstrated by the fact that Serbia had attracted more than half of all direct investments and improved its rank on the World Bank's Doing Business list.
She emphasised that Serbia was determined to continue on the EU path, although, she added that she was certain that many, perhaps some in the region, did not look forward to Serbia’s success and progress for their own reasons.
“We are determined to continue without frustration,” the Minister stated.
She said that the EU’s regeneration and recovery strategy may best be observed on the example of Serbia, which, she recalled, had been economically and politically isolated 20 years before.
“Serbia has shown a capacity to get back on its feet, revive and become a vital economy and state in the most successful way in the region, and I believe that this has been recognised both by the EU and the citizens of Serbia,” Joksimović said, adding that the European integration policy had contributed to that.
She also pointed to the EU's everlasting political impulse - that the Union does not want to import problems, but at the same time she added that the EU had unfortunately shown that it was also capable of generating problems.
“It is not always the most perfect message and best explanation that you do not want to import problems, as the EU produces them within itself as well,” stated Joksimović.
She underlined that we were partners in the process of European integration, because this was a meeting of two political wills.
In this process, she explained, there are obligations, procedures, standards and criteria that need to be adopted for one’s own benefit, but also to become a useful part of a functional, political and economic entity.
“The EU is yet to recognise the potentials of a daringly innovative Southeast Europe and Serbia, and it is yet to recognise that this region represents one of the greatest potentials for growth of entire Europe,” concluded Joksimović.