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J. Joksimović at Clingendael Institute webinar on Serbia

April 01 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović at Clingendael Institute webinar on Serbia

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, together with European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, has participated as a keynote speaker at the a webinar called ‘Serbia on a wobbly road to EU membership’, organised by the Clingendael Institute from The Hague and Serbian Embassy in the Netherlands.

Joksimović has emphasised the Serbian Government’s indisputable readiness and commitment to Serbia achieving the standards necessary for EU membership as soon as possible, even at a time when both the EU and Serbia are faced with severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From the very beginning of the crisis, Serbia has shown that it is an extremely solidary and resilient society, fully ready to cooperate both with the EU and with the neighbours in the region on tackling the most devastating effects of the crisis, primarily protecting citizens’ health, as well as the economy and society as a whole”, said the Minister.

The Minister has added that the immunisation, which Serbia is currently conducting and helping itself and others, demonstrates the resilience and sound organisation of the entire system.“We are deeply convinced that it is also one of the indicators that, in the context of values, Serbia truly is a European country”, said Joksimović.

Speaking about the way in which the new methodology will affect the pace of Serbia’s path towards the EU, the Minister has stated that the revised method of negotiations additionally underlines the importance of reforms in the area of the rule of law for the accession process, adding that Serbia is ready to continue carrying out important steps on that path.

“We accepted the new way of negotiations at a time when not all elements of this different implementation of the EU enlargement policy were known, thus showing a high level of trust in our European partners”, said Joksimović.

The Minister has added that the Serbian Government is ready to accelerate the reform process, primarily in the area of political criteria and the rule of law within cluster 1 – Fundamentals, fully understanding that it is key for measuring the overall progress on the path of European integration. She has announced that Serbia is also actively working on the reforms within other clusters, particularly within cluster 3 – Competitiveness and inclusive growth and cluster 4 – Green Deal, digitalisation and infrastructural connectivity.

Joksimović has said that she expects that the new format of Intergovernmental Conferences, as a vital form of strategic political intergovernmental dialogue, will enable member states to transparently express their expectations in terms of the rule of law and other main topics.

“We expect that the Netherlands, which has a strict but fair approach to the matter of our membership in the EU, will also participate in this dialogue in a constructive and principled manner”, said the Minister, adding that Serbia will use this opportunity to directly present its reform activities in the accession process.

Commissioner Várhelyi has stressed that he expects that, following the announcement of the way in which the new EU enlargement methodology will apply to Serbia, the Government will invest additional efforts to accelerate all reforms important for the EU accession process.

It is particularly expected that Serbia dedicates special attention to the implementation and results of the rule-of-law reforms, i.e. the protection of fundamental rights, including media freedom, fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as judiciary.

On the other hand, the European Union remains committed to the European perspective of the Western Balkans, supporting through the Economic and Investment Plan for the WB a stronger connectivity of the region and its approximation to European standards.

Tom de Bruijn, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Clingendael Institute, has also participated in the introductory part of the digital dialogue, while other participants of the panel included representatives of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, non-governmental sector from Serbia, and Dutch media.

The Clingendael Institute from The Hague is one of the most prestigious independent think tanks in the world, which deals with international relations. By analysing crucial topics of international politics and organising training courses and debates, they encourage governments, business and academic community, and civil sector to contribute to security, sustainability and the rule of law across the globe.

For the first time in ten years, at the joint initiative with the Serbian Embassy in the Netherlands, they have organised a public debate that focused on Serbia, particularly Serbia’s accession to the EU.

Source: Tanjug