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J. Joksimović: This year Serbia has proven to be a credible European country

December 10 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: This year Serbia has proven to be a credible European country

“This year has not only proven that Serbia is not distant from the EU, but also that Serbia is a credible European country. We have demonstrated economic resilience in the largest pandemic of the modern world, and our citizens have received the best health protection”, said Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović.    

According to her, Serbia has shown that it participates in all key EU policies, including the COVAX Facility for developing vaccines, joint procurements of medicines, as well as the Green Agenda, climate change, digitisation and everything that will be the topic of the new economic growth of the EU.    

As a guest of RTS, she has stated that membership negotiations of North Macedonia and Albania have been blocked, adding that the topic of enlargement has not been discussed and that conclusions on enlargement have not been adopted, unlike in each of the previous years. 

There is an impression that Serbia has never been more distant from the EU because, according to her, the matter is observed from the routine aspect of chapter opening.    

She has added that this year, due the pandemic, everything has changed – the way of work, life, behaviour, and consequently, the way of conducting the European policy regarding the enlargement process and negotiations with the EU.    

She has recalled that the new methodology groups chapters into six clusters, which deal with essential EU policies, adding that the opening of chapters is no longer the main criterion for progress.    

“Progress is related to intertwining our policies with European policies and intertwining partnerships, and this year has shown that Serbia has managed to do it. Have the countries cheerfully and whole-heartedly valorised our progress through the process – well, no, because they are facing Brexit and blocking of the seven-year budget”, explained the Minister.    

She has noted that, even in difficult circumstances of the pandemic and crisis, Serbia and the new Government have prepared the action plan for cluster 1 that comprises five chapters which have all been opened.    

She has added that they have prepared a serious reform implementation plan in the area of the rule of law, which is related to cluster 1.    

“We have again submitted the constitutional amendments to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption, we have adopted the Action Plan for the implementation of the Media Strategy and formed a joint working group of the Serbian Government and media associations tasked with ensuring journalist safety and protection”, stated the Minister.

The European Union is late in defining the application of the new methodology on countries in the accession process, such as Serbia and Montenegro, said Joksimović.

She has added that the EU and the European Commission know that they have not done their part of work regarding the beginning of the application of the new methodology, and that Serbia has proposed the holding of a political Intergovernmental Conference, which is part of the new methodology.

The Minister has noted that, under the new methodology, the designated six clusters refer to the rule of law, internal market, competitiveness, social recovery and economic growth, digital and green agenda, agriculture, and external relations.

Joksimović has stressed that, the moment North Macedonia and Albania were denied the opening of negotiations, she knew what the decision for Serbia would be.    We are ready, we are preparing our negotiating structures for the new methodology, while actively waiting for 2021. We believe that 2021 will show that the EU has taken the methodology that will accelerate the process seriously, that Serbia is taking the reform process seriously, particularly in the area of the rule of law”, stated Joksimović.    

Asked how important it is to hold the political Intergovernmental Conference, she has said that it is extremely important and that she will be reiterating that on tomorrow’s video conference with the German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth.    

“If that doesn’t happen, there will a Stabilisation and Association Council meeting on 17 December. This is the highest political level where we can discuss all political and economic aspects”, said Joksimović.    

She has added that no one in Serbia should feel discouraged, and that Serbia has proven to be a credible European country.    

“There is more work to be done, but I believe and I know that everyone in the EU has noticed Serbia’s level of capability throughout this difficult year to show its commitment to European values”, said Joksimović, adding that the EU is one of the key priorities of Serbia.

Source: Tanjug and RTS