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J. Joksimović: The postponement of the European Commission Report does not have to delay the opening of new chapters

May 15 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: The postponement of the European Commission Report does not have to delay the opening of new chapters

Serbian Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated today that the postponement of the European Commission Report does not have to delay the opening of new chapters in EU membership negotiations.

Asked by Tanjug to comment on the announced postponement of the presentation of EC annual reports on the progress of countries in the EU accession process, the Minister has said that if, due to COVID-19, the EC definitely decides to present the so-called enlargement package, which includes the Progress Report on Serbia, in autumn instead of June, she expects the EC to find a common way and solution, adhering to the principle of the process credibility and complying with the negotiation framework, to provide the member states insight into significant reform activities achieved in Serbia, and thus allow them to support the opening of new chapters with Serbia by the end of June, i.e. the end of the Croatian presidency. 

“We understand that this year has not started as usual, but Serbia’s progress in reform activities since the report of last April exists and can be measured, even excluding the last 2 or 3 months that have stopped and slowed down all countries in Europe,” emphasised Joksimović.

She has added that it is important to comply with the frameworks and procedures, because that is the only way to maintain credibility and convincing honesty of the process. She has further stated that she believes that the EC will find a precedent and an acceptable way to present the progress achieved in the last year to the member states – whether in the form of an unofficial report, the so-called Non-paper on the state of play regarding the area of the rule of law, or in another way that will allow the member states to support the opening of at least some of the currently prepared 5 chapters that Serbia has submitted to the EC – CH 2 Freedom of movement for workers, CH 14 Transport policy, CH 21 Trans-European networks, CH 3 Right of establishment and freedom to provide services, and CH 27 Environment and climate change.

“This would be an understandable and, in these unusual circumstances expected, flexible approach of the EC, aimed at maintaining the pace and the credibility of the process for Serbia, as well as for all other candidates and potential candidates in the Western Balkans,” stated Joksimović, adding that the long-announced Economic and Investment Plan for WB is certainly expected in autumn, and that it will then gain specific importance with regard to the official enlargement package.

According to the Minister, the postponement of the enlargement package and the progress report on Serbia for autumn is understandable, given the circumstances caused by the pandemic. Nonetheless, she expects that the last year’s progress will be presented in a flexible way and that the opening of at least some of the 5 prepared chapters will be enabled. 

Source: Tanjug