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J. Joksimović: Croatia strives to open new chapters with Serbia by the end of June

May 20 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Croatia strives to open new chapters with Serbia by the end of June

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović expects that, despite the postponement of the Progress Report for autumn, the European Commission and Croatia as the presiding country will find a way to present Serbia’s progress in reform areas to member states, so that Serbia would open at least some of the chapters it has prepared by the end of the Croatian presidency.

Today, Joksimović has met with the newly appointed Ambassador of Croatia in Belgrade, Hidajet Biščević. They have discussed Serbia’s European Integration process, Croatia’s EU presidency, improvement of relations between the two countries, and other current topics significant for the region.

The Croatian Ambassador has conveyed to Jadranka Joksimović his belief that Croatia, as a presiding country will strive to ensure the holding of the Intergovernmental Conference by the end of June, when new negotiation chapters would be opened.

According to the Ministry of European Integration, Joksimović has extended a warm welcome to Biščević, wishing him a successful term. She has also emphasised the importance of the fact that, during its current presidency and in circumstances caused by the pandemic, Croatia has kept the enlargement policy among its priorities, having organised the EU–WB Summit in the form of a video-conference, which resulted in the adoption of the Zagreb Declaration. 

“The Declaration confirmed the unequivocal support to the European perspective of the region, unity and solidarity between the EU and the WB in times of crisis, while the EU Investment Plan was also announced for autumn, as an incentive to regional projects and economies of the region,” stressed Joksimović.

Biščević has thanked Joksimović for the warm welcome, noting that the meeting with the line minister of European integration has been one of the first activities since he presented the accreditation letter to the President of Serbia.

“My term will largely be focused on supporting Serbia’s European path and on assistance through the exchange of experiences,” stated Biščević.

The Ambassador has also underlined that the EU enlargement policy and the Western Balkans are among the priorities of the Croatian presidency.

Speaking about the pace of the European integration process in circumstances caused by the pandemic, Joksimović has emphasised that Serbia expects that the accession process of candidate countries will not be slowed down and that the established negotiating frameworks will be adhered to.

She has stressed that, with 18 opened chapters – of which two have been provisionally closed, and with another five for which the negotiating positions have been submitted, Serbian has significantly advanced in the accession process.

The interlocutors have expressed their belief that, despite certain outstanding issues, there are many areas in which Serbia and Croatia can cooperation to the benefit of their citizens, particularly through programmes of local and cross-border cooperation financed from EU funds, and through important regional infrastructure projects. 

They have particularly emphasised the importance of increased economic cooperation aimed at faster economic recovery of the two countries in the post-pandemic period.

Source: Tanjug