J. Joksimović: Enlargement policy – not EU’s priority, but Serbia is making progress

05. December 2018. | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Enlargement policy – not EU’s priority, but Serbia is making progress

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated today that the decision of EU countries to open two new chapters under membership negotiations on 10 December is the result of the fact that the enlargement policy is presently not in the forefront of EU’s agenda, adding that it is vital that Serbia is making progress and continues to implement reforms.

Joksimović has told reporters in the City Assembly that Serbia has made significant progress in the area of the rule of law compared to the previous years but that it will open fewer chapters, adding that there are no grounds to be negatively assessed with regard to the progress made under Chapter 35, which is also considered while deciding on the number of chapters to be opened.

The Minister has highlighted that she is neither overly satisfied nor dissatisfied with the number of chapters that will be opened on Monday.
“Dynamics is present - we are opening chapters, showing that reforms are being implemented. It is a process - sometimes it is more successful, sometimes less, but it is important that Serbia is moving forward”, said Joksimović.

She has said that Serbia has submitted seven negotiating chapters to Brussels, which are technically prepared for opening and which have undergone all necessary procedures both in Serbia and the EU, noting that all negotiating chapters are reform-related.

According to her, 19 countries agreed to open at least three chapters, certain countries requested the opening of four or five chapters, while some did not even support the opening of one, however, an agreement was reached that future decisions would be adopted by consensus.

The Minister has said that the EU is not in the best shape to deal with the enlargement policy as a topic in a pre-election atmosphere when countries are preparing for European Parliament elections, also recalling that Great Britain is leaving the EU next year.
“This number of chapters is primarily the result of the fact that the enlargement policy is not in the forefront now or something that helps EU countries to prepare for future elections”, stated Joksimović.

She has explained that chapters 23 and 24, concerning the rule of law, as well as Chapter 35, which monitors the implementation of the Brussels Agreement and the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, are taken into account in adopting a decision on how many new chapters Serbia will open.
“I have been a minister for four years, I am well-aware of what we were doing three years ago and how many chapters we opened. I can say that we have now made more significant progress in the rule of law, but we did not open as many chapters as then”, said Joksimović.

As regards Chapter 35, the Minister has said that complete absence of political will and constructive moves by Pristina can therein be observed, whereby Pristina has not only disregarded the Brussels Agreement, but also damaged the already poor atmosphere and trust.
“Pristina's moves have derided the concept of European values that we need to nurture in the region”, concluded Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug