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J. Joksimović: Visegrad Group – a natural bridge towards stronger trust between Serbia and the EU

October 04 2019 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Visegrad Group – a natural bridge towards stronger trust between Serbia and the EU

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said that the Visegrad Group is a natural bridge towards stronger trust between Serbia and the European Union.

She has emphasised that both Serbia and the Visegrad Group (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) recognise natural alliances and natural bridges, as opposed to forced alliances.

“The Visegrad Group countries are a natural bridge towards stronger trust between Serbia and the EU. They remember former Yugoslavia and Serbia, which was the most advanced country in this part of Europe”, stressed Joksimović in her interview for RTS.

According to her, the Visegrad Group has been a consistent and vocal advocate of EU enlargement and the V4 countries do not only act as individual EU member states, but they have also established a cooperation platform where they coordinate their positions regarding various internal EU issues.

As an example of good joint action of the Visegrad Group (V4), the Minister has singled out the period 2014–2020, when the then European Commission formed and when those countries had a unified stand in requesting greater allocations for agriculture within the EU.

“And they succeeded. Within the Visegrad Group, they individually make arrangements and when they align their interests, which are not completely identical, then they skilfully negotiate and fight within the EU”, clarified the Minister.

She has noted that the Czech Republic holds the current V4 presidency and that their motto is “Reasonable Europe”, adding that what President Aleksandar Vučić set yesterday as a common line of interest, natural friendship and better understanding is “reasonable and responsible”.

“If our citizens need more trust in the EU or some EU countries need more trust in Serbia, then let us go over natural bridges of the countries that understand us and that know how complicated the accession process is because, until 2004 – when they became EU members, they had been going through what we are now going through”, stated the Minister.

She has recalled that the Visegrad Group members are quite vocal and that the Serbian President stressed that well.

“Sometime, a few vocal and reliable friends are worth more than multiple quiet and dear acquaintances. These are several reliable and vocal friends of enlargement and Serbia’s European future”, emphasised Joksimović.

She has added that Serbia does not look for shortcuts to the EU, but that it offers what it has: market, intelligence and ideas, as a country that has shown that, even after all the failure, it has the capacity of rebirth.

Talking about 2025 as a potential year of Serbia’s EU accession, she has recalled that a Credible Enlargement Strategy was published in February last year, and that then EC President Jean-Claude Juncker brought it to Serbia, adding that it was the first time the year had been mentioned as a possible year of Serbia’s and Montenegro’s EU accession.

“This legacy has been left to the new European Commission and new President Ursula von der Leyen, who has confirmed this credible strategy by stating in her first speech in the European Parliament that Europe is not whole without the Western Balkans”, clarified the Minister.

Source: RTS and Tanjug