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J. Joksimović and Pinter: Accelerate the European integration of Serbia and the region

January 27 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović and Pinter: Accelerate the European integration of Serbia and the region

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and Hungarian Ambassador Attila Pinter have discussed Serbia’s plans in the continuation of European integration, cooperation between the two countries in that process, the Visegrad Group’s positions regarding the accession process, the situation in the region and the EU, and other topics.

The Minister has thanked Hungary for the concrete assistance and support it has been providing to Serbia on its European path. In that sense, she has particularly underlined the position of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, that all negotiation chapters with Serbia should be opened as soon as possible, and that Serbia’s European integration should be accelerated. This is particularly significant, as such support comes from a neighbouring country, which is also an important EU member, and given that Serbia is consistently implementing the plan on the protection and promotion of national minority rights.

Jadranka Joksimović has also emphasised the importance of political and technical support Serbian European integration receives from the members of the Visegrad Group, Hungary included, because these are the countries that affirm the enlargement policy and whose experience can significantly contribute to the quality of Serbia’s accession process.

The Minister has highlighted the crucial effects of cross-border cooperation Serbia–Hungary, which is financed from EU funds, where institutions from border areas have realised numerous projects important for the local community and regional development.

The interlocutors have agreed that a credible EU enlargement policy should provide for greater funds for the development of the IPA 3 Programme for the period 2021–2027 and the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), and should allow room for additional investments regarding priorities of sustainable development and the Green Deal for the region.

The Minister has reiterated that Serbia is committed to implementing the European integration process and reforms, stating that 54% of Serbian citizens support EU membership, while 73% support reforms. She has further said that Serbia has five fully prepared negotiating positions and that it expects to open some of them by the end of June, i.e. by the end of the Croatian EU Council presidency. Joksimović expects that the new European Commission will devote special attention to accelerating the European integration of Serbia and the region. She has stated that Serbia is carefully following debates on the future of the EU and proposals regarding a new enlargement methodology.

Ambassador Pinter has confirmed that Hungary will continue to support Serbia’s European integration and that it will be a dedicated and reliable partner to Serbia in the European integration process. He has stressed that the reforms being implemented yield results and that they should be continued. He has emphasised that Serbia is an example of respecting national minority rights and that other countries should follow the same principles. The Ambassador has also noted that Serbia has proven to be significant factor of regional stability and a reliable partner to the EU.

Joksimović and Pinter have assessed that the relations between the two countries have never been better, that there are no outstanding issues, and that there is mutual will for intensifying these relations.

Source: Tanjug