Information News

J. Joksimović with Hahn: Serbia on the right track, reforms should be continued

September 27 2021 | Salzburg

J. Joksimović with Hahn: Serbia on the right track, reforms should be continued

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has met with Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, in Salzburg today. They have discussed the perspective of IPA 3 funds, big projects that Serbia proposed, EC President Ursula von der Leyen’s crucial visit to Serbia, as well as the enlargement process and the new methodology whose results can already be seen, according to the Commissioner.

Joksimović has said that Hahn, as the former enlargement commissioner, conveyed that Serbia had been noticed as the most active in its approach to the new methodology and that progress was visible.

According to her, Hahn assessed that the new methodology had been given life through Serbia’s process, adding that the fact was that some countries were not inclined towards enlargement, but that the results could not be ignored, as well as all reform processes and stronger political steering.

In that sense, Joksimović has said that, during their bilateral meeting, she and Hahn also discussed Serbia’s expectations by the end of the Slovenian EU presidency.

According to her, it was an important meeting from a number of aspects, with only positive words for Serbia, both in terms of the negotiation process and accession and in terms of the use of pre-accession funds and big projects that have been and will be financed by the EU.

“We talked about all the important elements in light of Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Serbia, as the two of them are in close cooperation, so this was an opportunity to learn about the ways in which the EC President’s visit could be complemented”, said the Minister, adding that they also discussed the messages the EU sends to the region and vice versa.

She has noted that the most important topic she addressed with the EU Commissioner for Budget and Administration were the big EU-funded projects.

“We talked about the expectations of the IPA 3 financial perspective, which has recently been confirmed by the European Parliament as the 2021–2027 EU financial instrument intended for reforms in countries negotiating for membership”, said Joksimović.

She has assessed that it is excellent that Hahn noted that Serbia had proposed significant projects in the area of regional connectivity and Green Agenda, as a special topic across the globe, particularly in the EU.

“The Commissioner stated that, in that regard, Serbia was recognised as a serious country, as it had already promoted large and important infrastructure projects and green projects in the area of ecology, environmental protection, fight against climate change”, said the Minister, adding that the project of the modernisation and revitalisation of the Belgrade–Niš railway line on Corridor 10 will particularly be highlighted during the EC President’s visit to Serbia.

According to her, this project is particularly vital in terms of connectivity and shortening the travel time of passengers and goods, which is important as it also has a green dimension and as it is the form of transport that creates the least pollution, which is why Serbia will invest further efforts in that direction.

She has added that the project requires a large amount of funds, adding that one part of it will be provided in the form of grants, and the other through financial institutions.

“I think that Commissioner Hahn presented a position pervading the European Commission that Serbia, at least in that regard, is serious and that we are on the right track in terms of projects related to connectivity, sustainable connectivity, Green Agenda and every other new topic that will bring new forward-looking jobs”, stated the Minister, recalling that the main goal is transformation, so that Europe would become the first climate neutral continent by 2050.

The Minister has added that she has also had an important meeting at the Salzburg Europe Summit with Karoline Edtstadler, the Austrian Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution, who is a vocal proponent of the enlargement policy and who accentuates Serbia as a good example.
She and Edtstadler talked about constitutional reforms that are being prepared and should be finalised by the end of the year.

“Austria’s opinion and expertise were valuable to us”, said the Minister. 

She has added that they also discussed the Conference on the Future of Europe, in terms of the huge debate about whether WB partners should participate in it in full status.

“Austria and the Visegrad Four advocate that WB citizens must be allowed to give their opinion on the future of the EU and the continent”, said the Minister, noting that Edtstadler commended and supported the initiative launched by Joksimović and Minister Gordana Čomić.

Joksimović has explained that it is an inter-ministerial working group that will create a platform where Serbian citizens will be invited to give their views on the future of the EU, adding that they also expect that WB citizens’ participation will be formally recognised.

Joksimović has also met with Slovenian State Secretary Gašper Dovžan. They have talked about Serbia’s expectations to make significant steps by the end of the Slovenian EU presidency. 
“Slovenia is actively lobbying for our steps in the new process of cluster opening”, said Joksimović, adding that they have also discussed the EU–WB Summit which is held in Ljubljana next week.

She has positively assessed the fact that the topic of enlargement is high on the agenda of the Slovenian presidency. “Serbia can make a good case as we have achieved good results, and we believe that most countries will accept and acknowledge everything that we have done and that we will make a new step, but whether it would cluster 3 or 4 – we will see.”

Source: Tanjug