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J. Joksimović: Serbia is negotiating under the most demanding criteria

September 24 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Serbia is negotiating under the most demanding criteria

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović is convinced that important elements of the results achieved in the area of the rule of law in the past year will be included in the EC Progress Report expected in early October.

She has stated that it is why she is surprised by the statement of German Ambassador Thomas Schieb, who said that she was right about Serbia having five prepared chapters, but that she had not mentioned that their opening depended on the progress made in key chapters related to the rule of law.

Asked by Tanjug to comment on Ambassador Schieb’s statement, Joksimović has said that if there is anyone who constantly stresses how strict and demanding the methodology for Serbia’s negotiations is, it is her.

She has further stated that she has been fighting for the opening of every chapter for years, and that she knows how important the assessment of progress in the rule of law is. 

Joksimović has said that she is surprised by the Ambassador’s statement, given that they have been very concretely and constructively cooperating for years regarding the promotion of Serbia’s European path and bilateral development cooperation between Serbia and Germany. 

“Each of the 18 opened chapters was opened because progress in the rule of law had been noted,” said Joksimović.

She has stated that she very well knows how the annual Progress Reports have looked like in the past several years, and that the informal report published in June contained a lot of elements in favour of the opening of new chapters, adding that it, nonetheless, did not happen.
“But, all right, I also said then that we had understood the political message and that we would move forward with the reforms in a faster and more dedicated manner,” said Joksimović.

She has added that she knows that now, during the German presidency that will last until the end of the year, there are significant elements that will certainly be included in the Progress Report for the past year.

According to her, these elements include the adoption of the Media Strategy in January, the development of the Action Plan for its implementation in May, and the entry into force of the Law on the Prevention of Corruption on 1 September. 

She has added that the action plans for chapters 23 and 24 were revised in July, which, according to her, is proof of Serbia’s serious approach to the dynamics and activities in this area.

“We have accepted and realised the inter-party dialogue under the mediation of members of the European Parliament, we have implemented ODIHR recommendations regarding election rules, the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has been renewed at a high political and technical level, and we have conducted a whole series of activities within chapter 24 related to security, fight against organised crime etc.,” said Joksimović.

She believes that all of the above will be mentioned in the upcoming EC Progress Report, which is expected to be published in early October, and that the member states will then analyse whether progress has been made in chapters 23 and 24, as a precondition for the opening of new chapters.

She has added that chapter 35, which follows the implementation of the obligations stemming from the Brussels Agreement, will also be assessed. 

“Of course, the new parliament will also have the task to adopt the constitutional amendments that we have worked on with all stakeholders for more than a year and that were positively assessed by the Venice Commission,” said the Minister.

“Therefore, we are more than active and ready to work even more, because this is what the citizens of Serbia expect above all,” concluded Joksimović.

Schieb has told Blic that new chapters will be opened with Serbia only if there is real progress in key chapters, and that Serbia must fulfil its obligations in the area of the rule of law, including the judicial reform, the implementation of the Media Strategy and the fight against corruption.

Source: Tanjug