J. Joksimović: Serbia plays a significant role in the EU's common foreign and security policy
December 26 2018 | Belgrade
There is no doubt that Serbia plays a significant part in the common foreign and security policy of the European Union, stated Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, recalling that Serbia has to fully align its foreign policy with the EU’s only right before the moment of full membership.
Joksimović has said that Chapter 31, which refers to the EU's common foreign and security policy, was one of the simplest chapters for candidate countries and that it was mostly closed without problems, but that in the meantime the situation in the EU got more complicated, not only because of relations with Russia, but also due to migration, visas, and discussions about the European Army.
“Chapter 31 has received a political connotation that it has not had before”, underlined Joksimović at the Parliamentary Committee on European Integration.
Citing that this chapter, among other things, refers to the alignment of documents with the EU Global Strategy, Joksimović has said that Serbia, as a candidate country, is the first country in the region to begin aligning its strategic documents on security and defence with the EU Global Strategy.
“This document is currently undergoing public debate and it should be prepared by the end of the first quarter of the next year”, the Minister has noted.
She has also highlighted that Serbia is the first in the region, and the eighth in Europe, with regard to the number of military personnel participating in peacekeeping operations, adding that the system of preparation for EU civilian missions is being improved.
“There is no doubt that, on multiple fronts and levels, Serbia mostly supports the common foreign and security policy of the EU”, Joksimović has said, recalling that, according to the negotiating framework, Serbia should achieve full alignment with the common foreign policy by the date of acquiring full EU membership.
For more than four years, Serbia has been waiting for the Screening Report for Chapter 31, which has been blocked by several Member States, including Lithuania and other Baltic countries, largely because of their relationship with Russia, said Minister Joksimović, adding that, for now, Brussels is not planning to produce a new report.
However, she has pointed out that this document, which dates from 2014, must in some way be updated.
She has stated that there are expectations from certain EU Member States, including Lithuania and other Baltic countries, which are guided by their own interests, experience and historical heritage, but that Serbia, with its positions, is an honest and predictable partner.
She has also highlighted that there is constant communication between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European institutions and that Serbia openly presents its positions from Chapter 31.