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J. Joksimović: Portugal supports political IGC during its presidency

March 18 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Portugal supports political IGC during its presidency

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has spoken today with Ana Paula Zacarias, the Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, about the Non-paper on the application of the new accession methodology, the continuation of Serbia’s accession negotiations during the current Portuguese EU Council presidency, the situation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and bilateral relations.

Following the presentation of the Non-paper in Brussels, Joksimović has stressed that it is good that the European Commission defined the manner of the application of the new accession methodology, which is particularly important for Serbia as a country that is well-advanced in the accession process. 

“Together with the EU, the Serbian Government is actively working on achieving European integration, and therefore we expect that, during the Portuguese presidency, the Union will acknowledge what has been achieved so far, and that the process will become clearer and faster under the revised rules”, said Joksimović.

She has particularly emphasised the importance of holding the political Intergovernmental Conference, which should be a high political forum for strengthening the political dialogue between the EU member states and Serbia, aimed at focusing efforts on key reforms that will enable progress in the accession process.

“Together we will direct the focus to the rule of law, functioning of democratic institutions and public administration, as well as to the continuation of economic reforms, primarily those that will enable Serbia to remain resilient to crises and to develop in a sustainable way”, underlined Joksimović.

Ana Paula Zacarias has stated that Portugal supports Serbia’s European path, adding that the Portuguese presidency’s advocacy for the continuation of accession negotiations with Serbia under the new methodology is one of the ways this support is reflected. 

“An Intergovernmental Conference during our presidency should enable forward planning of activities in Serbia’s EU accession process, as well as political prioritisation, and should contribute to creating a new dynamism in the reform process and related progress in the negotiations”, said Zacarias.

Joksimović has particularly thanked Zacarias for her personal efforts in Portugal not neglecting the EU enlargement policy, the Western Balkans and Serbia’s accession process, during such a difficult period for presiding over the EU Council, caused by the problems the pandemic has brought on all EU member states. 

The interlocutors have also discussed the agreement on and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in the area of European integration, which would include important fields of Portugal’s expertise and its support to Serbia in the area of cohesion policy and the Green Agenda.

Source: Tanjug