J. Joksimović: We currently have seven negotiating positions that are technically prepared for opening

29. October 2018. | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: We currently have seven negotiating positions that are technically prepared for opening

Serbia expects to open three chapters in the European integration process by the end of December, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said, assessing that the opening of chapters is not an end in itself, but that it contributes to the implementation of the reforms.

Speaking at the Ninth Meeting of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, Joksimović has said that the ultimate goal is to close the chapters, and that therefore the rigidity in terms of their opening must be reduced, since actual reforms commence with the opening of chapters.
"Opening of chapters is an important goal, and we need to open as many chapters as possible in order for the reforms to gain as much momentum as possible, so that we may move towards the ultimate goal, which is the closing of chapters," Joksimović has said.

She has added that Serbia will have a package of seven fully prepared negotiation chapters in December, and that she expects three chapters to be opened in order to somehow compensate for the backlog that occurred in the year of enlargement, i.e. in 2018, where delays were not on Serbia's part alone.

As she has said, seven negotiation chapters have been prepared - Chapter 9, financial service, 18 on statistics, Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policy, Chapter 2 on freedom of movement for workers, Chapter 4 on free movement of capital, Chapter 21 on trans-European networks and Chapter 14 on transport policy.

Speaking about the inevitable topic regarding Serbia's European integration, which falls within the domain of Chapter 35 - about negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, Joksimović has said that Chapter 35 is a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the dialogue, and that, at the moment, it can only measure that Pristina has not met any obligation - the only and the most important one under the Agreement, which is the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities.
"Belgrade has fulfilled its part, while Pristina has not for more than five years now, and we think that the EU, as the guarantor of the Brussels Agreement, has to find a way to raise its own credibility as a mediator. Serbia will not give up on the dialogue as the only way to reach an agreement, and this agreement must be based on a compromise, in such a way that neither party will be either an absolute winner or an absolute loser," Joksimović has said.

She has added that political provocations, intimidation of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, bans on visits for Serbian officials, etc. can be observed in practice almost on a daily basis, further stressing that she is surprised that she has not heard any reactions from EU officials to statements made by Kosovo's officials, who have said that Kosovo will first enter the UN and that only then will the CSM be formed.
"Serbia remains committed to the dialogue, and this is not just a phrase for us, but dialogue requires participation of both parties. I am surprised that I have not heard EU’s reaction to the statements made by officials of so-called Kosovo, specifically by Hoxhaj, who has said that Kosovo will first enter the UN and that only then will the CSM be formed. This is such an irresponsible statement - the same as if I were to say that Serbia will first join the EU, and then we will implement the Energy Agreement. Serbia will not behave in such a way, not because we are weak, but because we are responsible," the Minister has said.

Speaking about progress in chapters 23 and 24, Joksimović has said that Serbia has accepted all recommendations of the Venice Commission regarding constitutional amendments, and that two laws have been adopted - the Law on Free Legal Aid and the Law on Personal Data Protection, while the Law on Prevention of Corruption is in the final stages of preparation.

With regard to the media strategy, Joksimović has said that the process of preparing the media strategy has been re-initiated at the initiative of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, that a new working group has been formed, and that it is expected that Serbia, with the participation of the OSCE, will draft a Strategy that will be aimed at improving the media image in the country.

As regards the issue of national minorities, Joksimović has said that the Law on National Councils of National Minorities has been adopted, adding that it has been aligned with the highest European standards in the field of minority rights protection.
"Serbia is one of several countries in Europe today with an exceptional level of minority rights protection," Joksimović has said.

Speaking about migration, the Minister of European Integration has said that, since the beginning of the migrant crisis, Serbia has been an active and reliable partner of the EU, and that it has tried to be a part of the solution in the most constructive and humane way.
"Serbia remains committed to the highest principles of international humanitarian law and the highest standards. We are doing everything in our power to prevent any kind of abuse and are working with all EU Member States to this end," Joksimović has said, adding that Serbia, in terms of aligning the visa regime with the EU, has reintroduced the visa regime to Iran not because it was threatened with the suspension of the visa liberalisation, but because it has been observed that many of those who come from Iran are lost in records.

She has said that, during today's meeting with President Vučić and the representatives of the European Parliament, she had an opportunity to discuss Chapter 31, stressing that, in regards to this chapter, the focus is placed exclusively on the part relating to Serbia's relations with the Russian Federation, while the important aspect of Serbia's contribution to the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy is forgotten and absent from the agenda.

According to her, regardless of the negative atmosphere in the EU which is not in favour of enlargement, it is no longer a question of whether Serbia, which still has much to do in order to be ready for EU membership, is ready for the Union, but of whether the EU is ready to welcome new members.
"In that sense, we observe the enlargement process as a meeting of two political wills. Serbia remains absolutely committed to its European path," Joksimović has said, adding that it is impossible to use the old-fashioned "carrot and stick" policy in the policy of multilateralism, since the EU accession process is a partnership process that represents the political will of both the EU and its Member States.

Source: Tanjug

 

 

 

 

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