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J. Joksimović: Our voices have the right to be heard on the future of the EU

December 10 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Our voices have the right to be heard on the future of the EU

Today, the Ministry of European Integration has organised a conference titled ‘Serbia’s Youth on the Future of Europe - Ideas and Vision’, as Serbia’s contribution to the EU platform ‘Conference on the Future Europe’. The aim of the conference is to encourage public dialogue about the topics regarding the EU’s development and a more active inclusion of citizens in the development of a modern Europe.

“Serbia has every right for its voice to be heard on such an important topic”, Minister Jadranka Joksimović has said at the conference, the first of its kind, which has also included the participation of Damjan Bergant, the Slovenian Ambassador to Belgrade, Mateja Norčič Štamcar, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, prof. Vladan Đokić, PhD, Rector of the University of Belgrade, representatives of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Youth and Sport.

“Youth of all categories, they are all building our common future, all their opinions must be heard, must be acknowledged, and at the same time, discussed and debated, because that is the only way to have a real dialogue”, said the Minister.

According to her, precisely because Serbia is an associated country, it has every right to organise a national panel that will cover various aspects and views, regardless of whether EU institutions formally invited Western Balkan countries to do so and whether or not they are participating in the large European debate on the future of Europe.

She has added that all those views on youth that will be expressed at a series of panels, starting with today’s one, will be defined through conclusions and recommendations that will be submitted to European institutions.

“We believe that Serbia, as an acceding country bound by the highest EU standards, which is working on further adoption and implementation of those highest standards, has the right for its voice to be heard regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe, not just the EU, and we are a future member and our citizens are future citizens of the EU”, said Joksimović.

Therefore, the Minister believes, this is not only an extremely important topic for all, but also a chance for everyone to express their views regarding the two vital and predominant topics in the EU that shape common European policies and national public and sector policies through the process of European integration.

These include the rule of law and the Green Agenda, as the second flagship initiative in the EU, which has been adapted and transformed for the Western Balkans at the Sofia Summit.

The goal is for the dialogue to have an intergenerational dimension, so that Serbia can show that it is an inclusive society where everyone has the right to express their opinion.

Therefore, the Minister thought it best to start from youth, young entrepreneurs, farmers, and “all those who jointly build the capacity of our society which is also recognised in the EU as a capacity of intellect, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and everything that our people working in the EU have given as their contribution to EU countries”.

The Minister has emphasised that Serbia wants to become and remain a country that retains its people, believing that all of those who leave and those who stay can equally move the society forward and bring progress that will help Serbia join the current of change and become the beneficiary of huge global transformations.

She has added that it is important to hear opinions on the matters that will shape the future of several upcoming generations, i.e. the future of Europe.

She has recalled that education and youth policies are defined under Chapter 26 which is covered by Cluster 3 – Inclusive growth and competitiveness. Chapter 26 – Education and culture was opened in 2017 and, under the new methodology, is now grouped under Cluster 3, which is ready for opening.

The Minister has recalled that Cluster 4 will be opened the following week, adding that she hopes Cluster 3, for which Serbia received a positive opinion from the European Commission, will be opened in the first half of 2022.

“I hope that, after we complete all activities regarding the amendment to the Constitution, which should bring stronger institutional mechanisms for a full depoliticisation of the judicial system and judicial appointments, including the referendum, we will get the support of the Member States to open Cluster 3 in the first half of the next year”, said the Minister.

Source: Tanjug