Serbia can count on Hungary's support in European integration

25. October 2018. | Belgrade

Serbia can count on Hungary's support in European integration

Serbia has at the technical level prepared seven new chapters for opening, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has informed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Péter Szijjártó, who has said that Hungary is advocating for Serbia to open all seven chapters by the end of the year.

Minister Joksimović has thanked Szijjártó for the support that Hungary provides to Serbia on its European path, stressing that, given the current atmosphere in the EU which, according to her, is not in favour of the enlargement policy, it is realistic to expect Serbia to open three or four chapters by the end of the year.
"I think my colleague Szijjártó is really optimistic when he says that we can open all seven chapters. I am realistic, because I know that this pre-election atmosphere in the EU is not really in favour of enlargement, so we may realistically expect to open three or four chapters by the end of the year," Joksimović has said.

She has stressed that Serbia has good communication with Hungary with regard to Serbia’s European path, and that the support of Hungary in that sense is "honest, without calculations and hypocrisy".
"Support is just as it should be between real, good neighbours, the kind Hungary and Serbia have indeed been in the last few years, primarily owing to the efforts and good will of Prime Minister Orbán and our President Vučić," Joksimović has told reporters after her meeting with Szijjártó.

She has said that this is the right form of cooperation between the countries that want to improve their relations, "without any mediators or regional formats", and has expressed her hope that these relations will not only be preserved, but also improved in economic, political and cultural sense in the future.
"Hungary is a member of the EU, and their support means a lot to us. I think that they are one of the loudest countries to support the opening of the chapters, because opening of the chapters should not become an end in itself - the actual goal is to close the chapters. And if we are talking about enlargement and a credible enlargement policy, then we really need to get into the reform process at full capacity, and that is not possible without the opening of the chapters," Joksimović has pointed out.

She has said that Serbia, therefore, expects to open as many chapters as possible until the end of the Austrian Presidency, i.e. until the end of the year, and that it is realistic to expect the opening of three chapters.

She has added that the opening of the chapters would give credibility to the enlargement policy, which, she recalled, has been widely announced this year.
"Realistically, we expect the opening of three chapters, but of course we will see whether the report on how much progress has been achieved in the reforms within chapters 23 and 24, where we have done a lot, will be enough for some Member States to make a decision on the opening of a larger number of chapters," Joksimović has said.

She has noted that the atmosphere in the EU "is not great" regarding enlargement, not only in reference to Serbia, but also to the enlargement policy in general.
"This must not frustrate us - we must do our job for our citizens and remain patient," Joksimović has stressed.

She has emphasised that Serbia has a friend in Hungary when the enlargement policy is in question, and has stressed that Hungary, in this sense, also provides technical support in the process of European integration through its experts delegated to the Serbian Negotiating Team.

On the other hand, she has said that Serbia and Hungary also have good cross-border cooperation, related to projects that are of interest to border municipalities.

She has recalled that, this year, Orbán and Vučić have opened a reconstructed synagogue in Subotica, which, according to Joksimović, has shown that Serbia and Hungary want to cooperate in all areas.

Speaking about the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Joksimović has expressed her belief that, in order for this process to be credible, it must be respected by both sides.
"Belgrade has shown that it has respected its obligations, while Pristina has not fulfilled its obligations. In order for the process to continue and to have a credible continuation, it is necessary for everyone to fulfil their obligations, including the EU as the guarantor of the Brussels Agreement," Joksimović has emphasised.

She has thanked Hungary and Szijjártó for the support they have been providing to Serbia for years on its European path and has stressed that Serbia knows to appreciate this, and that it will do everything in its power to improve the status of the Hungarian and all other national minorities in Serbia, even though it is already above the European standards.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó has confirmed to Minister Joksimović that Serbia can count on Hungary's support in European integration.

He has stated that there are several reasons for this, one of which is of economic nature because, as he has said, the rhythm of economic growth in the Western Balkans is faster than in Europe, and that European integration is very important for the competitiveness of this part of Europe because it influences the economic growth.
"Our support also has a security aspect, because we believe that Serbia plays a key role in security in the Western Balkans; therefore, if Serbia has stable and rapid growth and development, then this will also be the case for the whole region," Szijjártó has pointed out.

He has stressed that this security is especially important now when the migration paths are reactivated, which is confirmed by the images coming from the Bosnian and Croatian borders.

Szijjártó has commended the amendments to the Law on National Minorities, and has stressed that Serbia is a country that provides the strongest rights to the Hungarian community, as well as to other communities, in the wider region.

He has stressed that Hungary is advocating for Serbia to open all chapters which have already been prepared at the technical level in December, adding that Joksimović has informed him that Serbia has seven such chapters.
"We are advocating the opening of all seven chapters at the next EU meeting. This would mean that, by the end of the year, Serbia would have 21 chapters opened," Szijjártó has pointed out.

He has stressed that the Austrian Presidency is followed by the Romanian Presidency that supports the EU enlargement, expressing his hope that Serbia will open all the remaining chapters during the next year.

He has also stressed that Hungary has extended the mandate for another year to the Hungarian expert who is an associate member and who helps with the preparations for Serbia's accession to the EU.

Given that Hungary is interested in the stability in the Western Balkans, he has said that Hungary wishes for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina to be completed successfully, and that a solution acceptable for both sides is reached.

Source: Tanjug





Министар Ј. Јоксимовић и Сијарто


Министар Ј. Јоксимовић и Сијарто


Министар Ј. Јоксимовић и Сијарто


Министар Ј. Јоксимовић и Сијарто