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J. Joksimović and Plug: Serbia is already negotiating under strict methodology

January 20 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović and Plug: Serbia is already negotiating under strict methodology

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has met with Ambassador of the Netherlands Gilles Beschoor Plug. They have talked about Serbia’s European integration process, expectations from the EU Summit scheduled for May, bilateral relations and the situation in the EU and the region.

Joksimović has stressed that Serbia will continue to consistently implement reforms that its citizens largely support, which are also part of the EU accession process and the sustainable economic development policy. She has emphasised that Serbia currently has 4 prepared negotiating positions, namely for chapters 2 - Freedom of movement for workers, 3 - Right of establishment and freedom to provide services, 14 - Transport and 21 - Trans-European networks, adding that the Negotiating Position for Chapter 27 – Environment and climate change will soon be sent to the European Commission. This confirms that Serbia is consistently implementing EU policies, but that the pace of the opening of new chapters is not in line with the speed at which Serbia is submitting its negotiating positions.

The Minister has further underlined that Serbia is carefully following the debate on the future of the EU and the proposals regarding the new enlargement methodology. She has recalled that Serbia is the only country to which the new EU methodology was applied several years ago, which implied that chapters 23 and 24 had to be opened first and that they were defined as so-called suspensive chapters, which means that, if no progress is achieved within them, no other chapters can be opened. In addition, the Minister has recalled that Serbia is the only country that under chapter 23 had the obligation to develop a special Action Plan for the exercise of national minority rights, which was not the case with other countries in the region that in the meantime became EU Member States or with those currently negotiating. As regards the new methodology for the future of the EU, she has pointed out that the debate should also include candidate and potential candidate countries.

Ambassador Plug has stressed that the Netherlands will continue to support Serbia’s European integration process applying a strict and fair model according to which the progress in the negotiation process of each candidate country depends on the fulfilment of criteria, adding that the topic is in the focus of the Dutch Parliament’s interests. In this context, he has highlighted as crucial the fact that great importance is attributed to reforms in the rule of law and economy, assessing them as vital for Serbia’ European integration. They should be strengthened, as they particularly contribute to the citizens’ quality of life. Plug has also emphasised the importance of activities Serbia is carrying out in order to strengthen regional cooperation and stability.

Joksimović and Plug have noted that the bilateral relations between the two countries are at a high level, and that there is room for intensifying them – primarily through economic cooperation, since the Netherlands is one of the crucial investors in the Serbian economy. They have also discussed the possibilities for the Netherlands’ bilateral assistance to Serbia in the European integration process, particularly in the context of improving the communication strategy for various aspects of the negotiation process that the citizens specifically feel.

Source: Tanjug