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J. Joksimović: Serbia ready to open clusters 3 and 4

October 29 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Serbia ready to open clusters 3 and 4

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated today that Serbia is ready for the opening of clusters 3 and 4, which the European Commission recommended, adding that progress needed to be recorded in the rule of law in order for the EC to provide that recommendation.

Joksimović has told Tanjug that the EC Progress Report on Serbia noted that Serbia had made progress in all areas, both within the political and the economic criteria.

“We are ready for cluster 3 and cluster 4 to be opened, which means that we are ready to open 12 chapters. We expect that, if this momentum in the implementation of reforms continues, the new methodology can help us maintain the pace”, said Joksimović.

The Minister has underlined that the positive EC Report, which notes that Serbia has actively accepted the new methodology in the past year, shows that Serbia has not been irresponsible in the European integration process.

“When you change the rules mid-game, at a time when Serbia is negotiating and has more than half of the chapters opened – 18 out of the total of 35, and then suddenly the rules of the game change, an opportunistic government would use that as a reason for ceased reforms and reduced pace. We’ve done the opposite”, said Joksimović.

She has added that Serbia actively accepted the new methodology, and that she personally reorganised all negotiation structures and strengthened coordination across the entire Government.

Joksimović has recalled that the new methodology provides for the direct involvement of the highest political decision-makers, i.e. the President and the Prime Minister of Serbia.

She has recalled that the new methodology accelerated the European integration process, adding that it has yet to be seen whether the new methodology is more efficient and stricter.

“Previously, we negotiated on each chapter individually, and now the chapters are grouped in six clusters according to related areas”, said the Minister.

Asked whether Serbia is ready for the cluster covering the chapter on environmental protection, Joksimović has said that Serbia is ready because this chapter is covered by cluster 4, for which the EC gave their recommendation.

“It’s not about whether Belgrade is one of the most polluted cities. Of course that has happened before and it is a problem, but not only in Belgrade, but also in entire Europe. We are working on solving this problem, just like everyone in Europe”, said Joksimović.

Asked whether Serbia could have problems in the European integration process given that intensified cooperation with Russia and China has been noted, Joksimović has said that this nothing knew, and that no one should be surprised.

“International relations are structurally disturbed and that is also reflected in expectations from us. This kind of political expectations is expected to be pointed at us, but this was addressed both by the President and the Prime Minister, and in this stage of the process we can in a way improve our political and economic interests through good political and economic cooperation with Russia and China, without structurally disturbing our EU orientation and all the reforms and anywhere where we participate in common European policies”, stated the Minister.

Asked whether Hungary’s support regarding European integration is “dangerous” for Serbia, the Minister responded that they would be irresponsible people and politicians if they rejected such support just because someone is in conflict with someone else.

“I believe we should accept that support and I am grateful for that support. Whether that can cause some Member States to become suspicious is not the topic we should be dealing with”, said Jadranka Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug