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J. Joksimović: EU is still not ready for new accession methodology

June 12 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: EU is still not ready for new accession methodology

Regarding the announcements that the political Intergovernmental Conference will be held in June, as a continuation of Serbia’s accession negotiations, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated that it is obvious that the EU is still not ready for the full application of the new methodology, although Serbia has worked fast to adjust to that methodology.

In her written statement to Tanjug, Joksimović has stressed that Serbia has done everything necessary to create conditions for the application of the new manner of negotiations.

She has noted that Serbia, unlike other candidates and potential candidates, has carried out all organisational changes of the negotiation structure “in order to make a fundamental, reform and comprehensive transition towards stronger political steering of the process and cluster structure of the negotiating team”.

“We have heard various excuses for such a decision from countries that have not given their consent for the opening of clusters, including that the European Commission was late in sending them the rule of law progress report, that they were unable to complete all necessary procedures even though they wanted to support the opening of clusters, that this political Intergovernmental Conference should only serve to politically confirm the application of the new methodology, as well as that Serbia has not made necessary progress in the rule of law”, said the Minister.

On the other hand, she has stressed that France, Czechia, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia have actively supported the opening of clusters, adding that Serbia is sincerely grateful to them.

Minister Joksimović has underlined that it is certainly good and positive that the political Intergovernmental Conference will be held, because, according to her, it represents a partial recognition of Serbia’s results that cannot be ignored, although some countries acted that way, which Serbia will have in mind.

“Our confidence is founded on concrete results both during the 2020 pandemic and now, in the previous months, when we carried out everything necessary to accelerate reforms in the rule of law area, with direct and fundamental engagement of President Vučić and Prime Minister Brnabić”, said Joksimović.

Joksimović has emphasised that what is important for Serbian citizens to know is that the Government and the negotiation structure have carried out comprehensive and demanding activities in the previous months.Within clusters 3 – Competitiveness and inclusive growth, which covers eight chapters, the following has been achieved: the Negotiating Position for Chapter 10 – Information society and media has been adopted; the amendment to the Law on Excise Duties has been adopted, which was a demanding benchmark for Chapter 16 – Taxation; and the negotiating positions for chapter 16 and chapter 19 – Social policy and employment have been adopted and sent to the European Commission, as Joksimović explained.

As regards cluster 4 – Green Agenda, digitalisation and sustainable connectivity, which covers four negotiation chapters, two complex actions plans have been adopted within chapter 15 – Energy: for required oil reserves and unbundling in the gas sector, which has been a key benchmark for this chapter. In addition, the Negotiating Position for Chapter 15 has been adopted.

Joksimović has noted that all these documents have gone through all formal procedures in the Government and the National Assembly, including consultations with the National Convention, i.e. the civil sector.“It is good that the EU position paper notes that all Serbia’s activities for the opening of clusters 3 and 4 could be valorised at the next Intergovernmental Conference, which should be held after the adoption of the enlargement package and the EC Annual Report on Serbia”, explained the Minister.

She has added that, prior to that, the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference will be an opportunity to confirm the application of the new negotiation methodology and the achieved progress within cluster 1 – Fundamental, where Serbia has already opened all five chapters it covers.

“I would like to underline that we have actively and fully prepared for that. In addition, what is equally important at this moment is that this will be an opportunity to have an open political dialogue on mutual expectations both with regard to the continuation of the reform process, i.e. what is specifically expected of Serbia, and with regard to our expectations from the enlargement policy and the revised negotiation methodology and the need for the EU enlargement to truly become a credible process”, concluded Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug