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J. Joksimović: Serbia, as an EU candidate, demonstrates great responsibility

October 30 2019 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Serbia, as an EU candidate, demonstrates great responsibility

Serbia is on the right track to improving electoral conditions through the implementation of ODIHR recommendations, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has assessed today, adding that the Serbian Government has made a major political concession and demonstrated responsibility by accepting the European Parliament’s mediation.

Speaking at the National Assembly, Joksimović has stated that the Government is not avoiding any topics, particularly regarding electoral conditions, and that it is ready to open politically demanding topics and transparently amend the Law on Elections, which, as she has noted, was once praised by EU.

“Look at the situation in the parliaments in the region, and some have not even been offered such mediation. I think that Serbia has shown excess responsibility as a candidate moving towards the EU and has voluntarily accepted the mediation of the EP”, Joksimović said at the 11th meeting of the EU-Serbia Parliamentary Committee for Stabilisation and Association.

Responding to the statements of the Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Committee, Tanja Fajon, who expressed concern about the boycott of the parliament and the announced boycott of the elections by the opposition, Joksimović has said that it is paradoxical to talk about it without considering the fact that there is a parliamentary opposition in Serbia and that several opposition parties are very active in its work.

“Those who advocate the boycott of the elections, and we are talking about the Alliance for Serbia, are non-parliamentary parties. I find it unbelievable that they are talking about a boycott, so how do they intend to become a parliamentary party”, wondered Joksimović, recalling that the Alliance for Serbia has also invited to participate in the EP-mediated inter-party dialogue.

Commenting on Fajon's criticism concerning media freedom, Joksimović has stated that the Media Strategy has been revised and sent to Brussels, with additional OSCE consultations, which, as she said, raised the level of transparency, inclusivity and competence.

She has recalled that the work on the Media Strategy was renewed at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Serbia precisely because the credibility of the process was put into question due to the fact that certain journalists' associations did not wish to participate in it.

“The whole process took more than a year and thus added quality, even at the cost of missing some deadlines, but quality was more important to us than speed”, said Joksimović.

Regarding the attacks on journalists mentioned by Fajon, Joksimović has stated that all cases reported to the prosecution have been processed, that some are in the indictment stage and some in the stage of gathering evidence.

“It is good that there is no murder of journalists in Serbia, as we have witnessed that happening in Bulgaria, Malta and Slovakia. Serbia has formed a Working Group to deal with cases involving the murders of journalists that have not been solved for decades, and its work led to significant progress in those cases”, indicated Joksimović.

She has added that comments from Brussels on the draft Media Strategy are expected, after which an action plan will be prepared and a series of procedural steps will be taken to complete the legal framework without which, as she has pointed out, there will be no successful implementation.

“The political will to do this exists, as does support from the EU and the OSCE and all institutions in Serbia; I hope we will have better results and that Serbia's ranking will become better”, concluded Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug