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J. Joksimović: Region demonstrates a lack of in enthusiasm for European integration

June 18 2021 | Vienna

J. Joksimović: Region demonstrates a lack of in enthusiasm for European integration

The delegation of Serbia responsibly addressed the issues discussed at the Vienna Summit, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said, underlining that all the representatives of the Western Balkans demonstrated a lack of in enthusiasm for European integration.

Following the ministerial meeting held in the framework of the Austria–Western Balkans Summit, Joksimović has told journalists that there is a lot of talk but little work regarding the EU enlargement process, emphasising that representatives of the Western Balkans still expect the Union will at some point start talking about the enlargement with a single voice.

According to her, the Serbian delegation gave an overview of the state of play and clearly expressed its expectations and notified the EU representatives that Serbia has actively embraced the new methodology, accepted all obligations and prepared its structures and two clusters.

“We have implemented numerous reforms with the support of President Vučić and Prime Minister Brnabić, especially in the domain of the rule of law, we have done everything that was up to us, but the response is not what we have expected”, Joksimović has said.

She has emphasised that she has conveyed a clear message during today’s meeting and expressed her expectations that, by the end of the year, there will be a credible response to everything that Serbia has done in good faith.

“We are continuing with our process, in the interest of our citizens, above all, but also because the process as such has its ups and downs”, said Joksimović, mentioning that, since there have been more downs in the previous two years, she now expects the process to gain an upward trend.

As regards the representatives of the Western Balkans and their approach to European integration, Joksimović has said that there is a lack of enthusiasm as well as the expectation that something will happen in terms of the enlargement process by the end of the year.

However, according to her, if nothing happens, the enlargement process will lose its credibility despite the fact that the new methodology should have reinstated and strengthened the credibility of the process.

Regional cooperation has also been discussed at the meeting, while Joksimović has said that Serbia has no issues regarding regional cooperation, but that it should imply everyone’s active participation and good intentions.

“If we don’t have that, then there is not only the question of how we are going to confront the past that is constantly evoked, but also how we are going to face the future which is very challenging”, added the Minister.

She has mentioned that it is particularly important that the meeting has been organised at a moment when there has not been a lot of good news for the entire region as regards EU enlargement, but has added that the Intergovernmental Conference that Serbia will have with the Union will be a partial recognition of its results.

She has welcomed the Austrian initiative to organise this meeting, particularly given that this country is among the consistent supporters of the enlargement policy.

“I think that they have demonstrated good initiatives so far, they have also supported the organisation of the Intergovernmental Conference with Serbia, they have not opposed the opening of clusters and we believe it is important that, with our participation, we demonstrate that we appreciate such policy”, stated Joksimović.

She has added that the Conference on the Future of Europe has been discussed at the ministerial panel, including they ways the Western Balkans can participate in it, since, as she has recalled, Austria and several other countries have sent a non-paper inviting the EU member states to support the participation of the Western Balkans in this large conference.

Source: Tanjug