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J. Joksimović: Intergovernmental Conference – partial recognition of results

June 13 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Intergovernmental Conference – partial recognition of results

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated today that the European Union has not shown readiness and political will to apply the new enlargement methodology, adding that Belgrade is not surprised by the EU’s decision not to open a single chapter or cluster with Serbia, but that she believes that Serbia’s reform course will be strengthened at the Intergovernmental Conference scheduled for 22 June.

As a guest on RTS, Joksimović has said that the Intergovernmental Conference will be held at a high level, most probably at the ministerial level, adding that it represents a partial recognition of achieved results and a political signal that Serbia’s results are not disregarded and cannot be ignored.

She has emphasised that Serbia was ready to open two clusters in line with the new methodology: cluster 3 – Inclusive growth and competitiveness, and cluster 4 – Green Agenda, digitalisation and sustainable connectivity.

“We have prepared a total of 12 chapters, of which some have already been opened and some have already been prepared, and now we have additionally prepared four more chapters. I believe that there have been many elements to launch the full application of the new methodology, because there has been progress in the rule of law, which was noted in the latest non-paper on the state of play regarding the rule of law in Serbia”, stated Joksimović.

She has explained that the idea is to use the political Intergovernmental Conference scheduled for 22 June to finally confirm the new methodology and the beginning of its application.

Joksimović has said that certain member states justified their decision by the fact that the application of the new methodology will finally be confirmed at the Intergovernmental Conference, while some stated that they received the European Commission report on the rule of law late, claiming they would have supported the opening of clusters.

Joksimović has added that others have noted that it is enough to confirm the new methodology and launch the full application by the end of the year, while some have said that they expect greater progress.

“We’ve heard various reasons, this was a somewhat expected decision, but I think it is a wrong one, and that we should have entered the full application of the new methodology”, said Joksimović.

She has added that Serbia has achieved a lot in the previous months and that it has strengthened its reform course and politically steered the process, adding that not all member states were against the opening of clusters.

According to her, the opening of clusters was supported by France, Italy, Czechia, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria, while the member states that opposed the opening gave various reasons for that.

“This is a difficult process that has its ups and downs, and I think it is good that we are empowered, we have confidence which is founded on results and not on empty words, and I believe that a more concrete step will be made by the end of the year”, stressed Joksimović.

Speaking about the results achieved in the rule of law in the previous period, Joksimović has said that it has been noted that Serbia started implementing the recommendations from last year’s Progress Report, including constitutional amendments, which according to her are key and refer to the improvement of judicial independence and autonomy of the prosecution.

She has recalled that the National Assembly adopted the initiative for the amendment to the Constitution, that the Law on Prevention of Corruption and the Law on Determining the Origin of Property have been adopted, that the public procurement portal has been created and that the Action Plan for the Media Strategy has been adopted.

Asked whether the EC and EU’s decision has anything to do with the talks that Belgrade will have with Pristina in Brussels on Tuesday, Joksimović has said that she has never put the pressures regarding the normalisation of relations with Pristina in the context of European integration, adding, however, that pressures definitely exist.

“This is a sensitive political issue in which certain EU member states show particular interest, but as regards European integration, we have strengthened the process, we are politically steering it, and I believe that we will have even better results by the end of the year”, noted Joksimović.

Source: RTS and Tanjug