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J. Joksimović: Some of the chapters should be opened at the end of June

May 22 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Some of the chapters should be opened at the end of June

The EC report on the progress of candidate countries, which also affects the opening of negotiation chapters, has been postponed for autumn, while Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said that an unofficial report will be prepared, which will give the EU member states a chance to analyse Serbia’s achievements, adding that she expects some of the prepared chapters to be opened at the end of June.

At the press conference, Joksimović has explained that each year the EC prepares an annual report on the progress of countries in the accession process, and that the report is usually published in April or May.

She has added that, based on the progress made in reforms, particularly in the area of the rule of law, i.e. chapters 23 and 24, which Serbia has opened, member states decide whether new chapters will be opened.

“This year, the report was supposed to be published in June due to the pandemic, but the EC decided to postpone the reports on all accession countries for autumn, and to present this package of reports together with the big economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans that Commissioner Várhelyi announced before the pandemic,” stated Joksimović.

According to her, this would put Serbia in a position where it could not expect the opening of chapters.However, yesterday, Joksimović spoke with Commissioner Várhelyi who suggested the preparation of a non-paper – an informal document that would include all matters related to the rule of law, such as positive aspects, delays, and areas that provide greater chances of member states supporting the opening of some of the chapters Serbia has prepared, by the end of June, i.e. by the end of Croatia’s presidency.

“I think that in this flexible way, by preparing the unofficial report, the EC will give member states the opportunity to analyse the situation in Serbia, and I assume then that, if we were to open some chapters, it would be at the end of June, probably after the elections in Serbia,” said Joksimović.

She has recalled that chapters are usually opened at the end of June, adding that, in this way, Croatia would have a tangible result of its presidency.

“This report should be published by mid-June, and I expect Serbia to continue on its European path and open some of the chapters for which we are prepared. Elections are coming, and I believe that we have achieved significant improvement in reform areas that were the subject of the inter-party dialogue,” stated the Minister.

Serbia is ready to open five chapters, said Joksimović, noting that those are chapter 2 – Freedom of movement for workers, chapter 21 – Trans-European networks, 14 – Transport, 27 – Environment and climate change, and chapter 28 – Consumer and health protection.

“We are ready and open; we have done a lot, and I really think that we are moving in a good direction, but it depends on the member states’ assessment how many chapters will be opened and which chapters that will be. In any case, we are doing our job, and that is the most important thing,” concluded Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug