Serbia’s Commitment Unquestionable
March 11 2019 | Belgrade
We understand that enlargement is not the top priority for EU members and citizens. However, for us, the positioning of enlargement within the new European structures would be one of the key issues
The overall dynamics of Serbia’s accession negotiation process has maintained a stable and relatively solid pace since the opening of accession negotiations.
Being among the front-runners in the accession process, as acknowledged by the European Commission in its Credible Enlargement Strategy for the Western Balkans, published in February 2018, Serbia has been opening new negotiation chapters every European semester, while at the same time we’ve continued internal work on preparing for the opening of new chapters.
A total of 16 of 35 chapters have been opened, two of which have been provisionally closed, which is generally satisfactory, considering the overall political context in Europe, but also the regional and global challenges that have been confronting the entire continent.
We will maintain our focus in 2019 on areas requiring substantial reform activities, primarily the prevention of corruption and media strategy development
The Serbian government has remained fully committed to implementing reforms in all areas, with an emphasis on the rule of law and the economy.
In the area of the economy, reforms have resulted in overall macroeconomic and fiscal stabilisation and increased growth, which was acknowledged by the European Commission and all relevant international financial institutions.
When it comes to the rule of law, which includes systemic and long-term orientated reforms, 2018 was a year of concrete results, with an emphasis on judicial reform via the process of constitutional amendments, the adoption of important systemic laws, further guarantees for minority rights and a legislative framework in the area of asylum and migration.
We will maintain our focus in 2019 on areas that also require substantial reform activities, primarily the prevention of corruption and development of the media strategy.
Furthermore, the European Commission’s Country report for Serbia will be published in the spring of 2019 and will assess progress throughout all reform areas. As was the case in previous years, we expect an objective and balanced report that will acknowledge progress achieved in all relevant areas, but also Serbia’s decisive, responsible and substantial contribution to regional stability, given that the region referred to as the Western Balkans is geo-strategically and geopolitically important to the EU, but is also of interest to other non-EU players.
As such, we expect a good country progress report that will subsequently lead to the opening of new negotiation chapters with Serbia before the end of June. However, we consider that reforms driven by the accession process should bring us a membership, as we could also deliver on reforms without entering the EU accession process.
We understand that the EU is not in perfect shape these days and that enlargement is not the top priority for EU members and citizens, but if we want to retain and enhance the credibility of the EU and its enlargement policy, we hope and expect that the enlargement policy will remain on the EU agenda throughout 2019.
With the support of the current Romanian Presidency of the EU, we believe that the dynamics of our accession process will be maintained, thus sending a positive political message to Serbian citizens confirming the continuation of the enlargement process.
We also monitor developments on the European political scene closely and look forward to seeing the new composition of European institutions.
So, to conclude, one of the key issues for Serbia will be the positioning of enlargement within new European structures.