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J. Joksimović: Serbia has additional arguments for sceptical Member States

November 16 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Serbia has additional arguments for sceptical Member States

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated today that Serbia has additional arguments for Member States that have been more cautious and sceptical about giving consent to the opening of chapters, which can affirm that the progress Serbia has made is truly evident.

“We deserve both clusters. We are working on presenting to all Member States what we are doing, which should additionally convince them that progress is truly evident”, said Joksimović at the presentation of the 2021 EC Report on Serbia.

Joksimović has added that she believes Member States have the right to assess the results.

“We expect to open at least one cluster, and we are working and hoping, in the interest of Serbian citizens, that it will be two clusters”, said the Minister, adding that, in the context of bilateral relations, Serbia will be able to assess and see who reviews achievements realistically.

She has emphasised that the report measures achievements made since the previous report, which noted progress in relation to the report before that, which means that this is not cumulative progress.

According to her, in that sense, all assessments recording progress in numerous areas, noted that certain progress has been made compared to the previous report – “whether it is smaller, greater, limited, good, some...”

She has stressed that it is “important to know that there has been no stagnation, that no important area has demonstrated a lack of progress – all areas recorded greater or smaller progress, both within the political and the economic criteria, which gives the report a positive dimension”, said the Minister.

As regards particular clusters and chapters, Joksimović has added that the report noted in Cluster 2 that there had been no progress in Chapter 28 – Consumer and health protection.

“In the meantime, two weeks ago, we adopted the Negotiating Position for Chapter 28 within Cluster 2, and we have already made a lot of improvements based on the suggestions regarding that chapter, but have decided not to overburden the EC and Member States now with additional negotiating positions until we get the necessary consent regarding clusters 3 and 4, which the EC recommended for opening”, said Joksimović at an online meeting organised by the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities and the EU Delegation to Serbia.

She has recalled that Cluster 3 – Competitiveness and inclusive growth covers eight chapters, and that cluster 4 – Green Agenda and sustainable connectivity covers four chapters.

“We are working simultaneously and in line with the progress report in all other areas and negotiating positions as well, and we have already started addressing the recommendations from the report”, said the Minister.

As regards constitutional amendments, which have been mentioned as the main and leading dimension of the important segment of the judicial reform in the area of the rule of law, she has said that the referendum has been scheduled for 16 January, when the that transparent, long and demanding process of constitutional reform, pertaining to judicial appointments, will be finalised.

“The fact that we also defined that part of activities with the date of the referendum clearly shows that we have addressed the recommendations from the report, which will be an additional argument for the Member States that are more cautious and sceptical about giving consent to the opening of clusters”, said Joksimović.

She has stated that all that will demonstrate a clear timeline, commitment and political will to implement this vital reform in the area of the rule of law.

The Minister has said that she expects the holding of the Intergovernmental Conference by the end of the year and Slovenian EU presidency, which will include a political Intergovernmental Conference where enlargement will be discussed and where the following step will be made towards cluster opening.

Source: Tanjug