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J. Joksimović: Unfairly on hold

October 23 2019 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Unfairly on hold

Our European path is beyond question

These are obviously not the sunniest days for the enlargement policy, since the clouds on the European horizon of enlargement policy came as the result of the numerous internal, inter-institutional and inter-state repositions. Therefore, the enlargement policy somehow unfairly suffers, and consequently the citizens of countries involved in the process or waiting for the opening of negotiations are suffering too.

This is how Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, in an interview for Večernje novosti, answers the questions on whether the EU's enlargement process is “dead” in the wake of the EU's decision not to open negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania.

Maybe one part of the EU and the non-EU countries are being held as “hostages” by France, which was most vocally in favour of blocking Skopje and Tirana?

- Serbia sincerely supports the European integration of the countries in the region, because of the interest of citizens who deserve a better future and sustainable development. But I certainly expect the enlargement policy slipping off the rails will be unblocked and the EU will set to work on strengthening its capacities, exactly as envisaged by the Credible Enlargement Perspective 2018, left as legacy to the new European Commission.

What awaits us in the continuation of EU integration process?

- Serbia continues on its path of an acceding country: we have made profound progress in the process of negotiations and reforms, opened almost half of the chapters, we are working on the criteria for provisional closure, so our European path is beyond question. The dynamics is as it is, we are used to it and we do not complain. However, we are serious, as it is in our interest to implement the established reform policy and political and economic cooperation with the EU. We expect the same credibility from our European partners in their actions.

Four negotiation positions are ready

How many chapters are ready for the opening at the moment?

- We have prepared four negotiating positions: CH 2 (Freedom of movement for workers), CH 4 (Free movement of capital), CH 14 (Transport policy) and CH 21 (Trans-European networks).

Do you expect Serbia to open new chapters by the end of the year?

- The Finnish Presidency of the EU is promoting the enlargement. The Member States expect the so-called "non-paper" on the status of implementation of the obligations under the Action Plan for Chapters 23 and 24, so on the account of that they will make a decision on the opening of new chapters. Serbia has made serious steps in the field of rule of law - a proposal of a Media Strategy, a dialogue on electoral conditions, in the field of the fight against corruption as well, so I am expecting a positive decision on the opening of new chapters, and we are yet to see how many.

D. Milinković

Source: Večernje novosti