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Joksimović: Define application of new methodology for Serbia as matter of urgency

December 07 2020 | Belgrade

Joksimović: Define application of new methodology for Serbia as matter of urgency

Following the blocking of the ministerial Conclusions on Enlargement at the EU Council, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said that the application of the new methodology on Serbia’s accession process should be defined as a matter of urgency, as it is currently delayed because the member states and the EC obviously cannot agree on the negotiating frameworks for North Macedonia and Albania.

Joksimović has stated that, since the Conclusions on Enlargement proposed by the EU Council have not been adopted at EC working bodies, it is highly likely that they will not be adopted at tomorrow’s General Affairs Council meeting either.

In that case, the last opportunity to organise the Intergovernmental Conference by the end of December is 9 December, when the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union is scheduled to have a meeting.“In any case, it would be good for the German presidency to demonstrate leadership with regard to the new methodology and enlargement policy”, underlined Joksimović in her written statement for Tanjug, commenting on the new information in Serbia’s European integration process and the blocking of the conclusions of EU ministers.

She has added that, under the new methodology, the opening of chapters is no longer the main instrument of the process, but that it is the meeting of the criteria for the opening of entire clusters of related chapters.

“Perhaps, the opening of individual chapters will no longer be important for the opening of clusters, but there may be a specific opening criteria or, for example, a good track record in all chapters within a given cluster; we will see after the application of the new methodology on countries in the accession process is defined”, stated Joksimović.

She has added that it would be an important signal for Serbia if a special political Intergovernmental Conference were to be held, adding that it is mandatory under the principles of the new methodology upon the announcement of the Conclusions on Enlargement.

“Therefore, I expect – and I said this to all partners in the EU – that, by the end of the German presidency, it would be good to apply the part of the methodology that can be applied in this stage, which is the holding of a political Intergovernmental Conference, where a strategic and political dialogue would be conducted on Serbia’s accession process and progress in the areas defined within clusters, and where the latest positive steps of the new Serbian Government in the area of the rule of law would be presented, as well as expectations and plans for the accession process in the upcoming year”, said Joksimović.

If that, nonetheless, does not happen, Joksimović stresses that there is still the meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council scheduled to be held at the highest political level on 17 December, which will also offer the opportunity to analyse the key aspects of political and economic relations between Serbia, as a country in the accession process, and the EU.

“We are actively working, adjusting all structures for the new methodology, while waiting for the EU and member states to agree on the manner of application and the continuation of the accession process that should be accelerated through stronger political steering and a strategic plan for the implementation of reforms, which is the essence of the new methodology”, emphasised Joksimović.

The Minister has also stressed that it is important for both the EU and candidate countries to demonstrate greater enthusiasm towards enlargement. Commenting on Erhard Busek’s suggestion to change the enlargement strategy and accept the countries of Southeast Europe into the EU while allowing them to gradually achieve alignment in the area of the rule of law and economy, Joksimović has stated that she has so far “heard myriads of different plans and ideas”.

She has noted that everything that leads to greater credibility and acceleration of the process is acceptable to Serbia, adding that the process must be mutually sincere and substantively partner-like.

“Serbia has actively approached the new negotiation methodology, we have embraced the need to achieve stronger political steering of the process, to place focus on a strategic plan for the implementation of reforms, and the fact that Serbia, as a country that has a significant capacity for integration in the majority of EU sector policies even now as a candidate, can most certainly help raise the EU’s competitiveness, where our citizens would see that full membership can additionally contribute to a more stable and jointly more resilient Europe, which is where we live and whose fate all of us at the continent share”, concluded Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug