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Joksimović and Várhelyi: New methodology for greater credibility of negotiations

November 20 2020 | Belgrade

Joksimović and Várhelyi: New methodology for greater credibility of negotiations

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi have had a video-conference today, where they have discussed the most important current issues regarding Serbia’s EU accession process and the situation in the region.

Joksimović and Várhelyi have agreed that the stability, security and progress of the Western Balkans are closely related to the prosperity of the European Union itself, and that the efforts Serbia is making in re-establishing trust and strengthening economic relations in the region make it a credible partner in the accession process.

Joksimović has emphasised the fact that the acceleration of reforms necessary for Serbia’s faster accession to the Union, including those in the area of the rule of law, recovering from the economic effects of the current pandemic, and strengthening regional cooperation are among the key priorities of the new Serbian Government.

“The holding of the Intergovernmental Conference by the end of the year would be an excellent opportunity to present to the member states everything that we have so far achieved in the reform process”, said Joksimović.

She has added that it is also important to review Serbia’s plans on how to be more efficient in the accession process, with the help of the European Commission that should define all elements of the new cluster approach to negotiations.

Joksimović has also reiterated Serbia’s commitment to accept the new methodology which, according to her, enhances political steering of the negotiation process.

She has stressed that Serbia is already intensively preparing and strengthening political steering of the negotiation process, which should result in the acceleration of reforms.

Joksimović has underlined that the European Commission also has to do its part in further defining the application of the new methodology on Serbia, adding that it is why a continuous and open political dialogue is important.

Commissioner Várhelyi has said that the idea of the new methodology reflects the fact that the Western Balkans is a strategic priority of the European Commission in its current composition, adding that the goal of those proposed changes is to strengthen the credibility of the process and its predictability and transparency.

“The Economic and Investment Plan, which implies up to EUR 9 billion in grants, represents support to the long-term socio-economic recovery and sustainable GDP growth in the entire region”, said Várhelyi.

He has underlined that these funds will primarily serve as support to the region’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19 and meeting standards for EU membership as soon as possible.

Joksimović has thanked Várhelyi for the objective and affirmative approach regarding the valorisation of not only political but also economic criteria that Serbia is meeting within negotiations.

Joksimović and Várhelyi have agreed that, although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected both the EU member states and Serbia, as well as the entire region, its effects have not diminished the importance of the enlargement agenda, whose strategic goal, on one hand, is the implementation of all reforms in countries aspiring to EU membership, and, on the other, for the Union to encourage the Western Balkans to accelerate its path.

The rule of law, development of infrastructure, Green Agenda, circular economy, youth employment, and economic development are the most important areas whose improvement will bring better life to all citizens, as well as the realisation of political ideas and values of EU membership, as concluded by Joksimović and Várhelyi.

Source: Tanjug