J. Joksimović and Schieb: Reforms and rule of law – most important for progress
February 01 2019 | Belgrade
Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has talked with German Ambassador to Serbia Thomas Schieb about the European integration of Serbia and the continuation of mutual cooperation in that process, the effects of the reforms being implemented during the accession negotiations, the situation in the region, bilateral relations and other current topics.
Thanking Germany for its long-standing and continuous technical and development assistance to Serbia in the accession process, Jadranka Joksimović has presented Tomas Schieb with Serbia’s plans regarding the continuation of European integration. She has reaffirmed Serbia’s commitment to the European integration process, despite the fatigue expressed by Member States regarding EU enlargement. In this regard, she has informed the Ambassador that, in addition to the negotiating positions for the following chapters: 9 (Financial services), 4 (Free movement of capital), 2 (Freedom of movement for workers), 14 (Transport Policy) and 21 (Trans-European networks), Serbia is also intensively working on the preparation of other chapters. The Minister expects Serbia to open some of them during the Romanian EU Council Presidency, which, according to her, would also confirm the credibility of the enlargement policy.
Joksimović and Schieb have agreed that the reforms in chapters 23 and 24 - judiciary, fight against crime and corruption, minority rights, and media freedoms are substantive and the most important for society. She has informed him that the revision of the Action Plans for chapters 23 and 24 is in progress, which will more realistically and precisely define future activities of the Government in these areas.
Joksimović has recalled that the Government has accepted and acknowledged all recommendations of the Venice Commission regarding constitutional amendments in the field of judiciary and that it has conducted a transparent and inclusive public debate process, adding that the Parliament is expected to finalise the process during this year. She has recalled that the Government has adopted the Law on Free Legal Aid and the Law on Personal Data Protection, adding that the Law on Prevention of Corruption is in its final stages of preparation and that the activities of the state regarding the fight against corruption and organized crime are evident.
The Minister of European Integration has stated that Serbia has directed its activities towards securing peace and stability in the region. She has pointed out that Belgrade - because of the need to find a sustainable solution, is committed to the dialogue with Pristina, and that it is ready to continue the dialogue after the abolition of unlawful and unilateral taxes on goods from Serbia. She has assessed that the stalemate in the dialogue caused by the unlawful and unilateral moves of Pristina and the activities of some other actors in the region, do not contribute to regional stability.
Ambassador Thomas Schieb has stressed that further work and progress in the area of the rule of law is important for Germany. Progress has been noted, and Germany expects even more intensive work on the legislative framework and implementation in this area, especially on the reform of the judiciary, media freedom and the fight against corruption. He has said that Germany will continue to support Serbia’s European integration that is based on criteria fulfilment. He has stressed that Serbia and Germany have established a relationship of trustworthy partnership based on openness and genuine dialogue.
At the meeting, it has been assessed that relations between the two countries are at a high level, that there is mutual commitment to strengthening overall cooperation, that Germany is an important economic and political partner of Serbia that provides significant support in the process of European integration. This is best illustrated by the fact that, over the past 15 years, Germany has allocated more than EUR 1.8 billion in grants for numerous development projects in Serbia.
Joksimović and Schieb have agreed that joint activities on bringing these facts closer to the citizens of Serbia can be intensified.