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J. Joksimović: Reforms will maintain same pace during French presidency

December 16 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Reforms will maintain same pace during French presidency

“Serbia will continue to implement reforms at the same pace during the French EU Council presidency”, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated today, stressing that this year has been successful for Serbia’s European integration and expressing her belief that the positive dynamism will also be maintained in the first half of 2022, given the set priorities of the French presidency.

At the reception organised on the occasion of the beginning of France’s EU Council presidency, Joksimović has noted that the EU Member States’ decision to support the opening of Cluster 4 – Green Agenda and sustainable connectivity in the accession negotiations with Serbia has demonstrated the synergy in the EU and Serbia’s work.

She has emphasised that the topics from Cluster 4 – energy, environment, sustainable development, trans-European networks and transport best reflect the interconnectivity of the European continent, where no one can work alone and without cooperation with others to achieve more, to tackle potential problems or create a sustainable roadmap.

“For us, it is crucial that we have timely recognised the currently essential topics for Europe, which France also included in its priorities under a new model of the EU’s growth, and that we as a country have entered the current of change. It is important that we do not stand on the side waiting for changes to happen, but that we work together on that, although those changes are demanding and expensive and require the engagement of the entire society”, said Joksimović.

She has stressed that the strategic vision of Serbia and the EU’s joint work in those and all other areas, as envisaged by the new methodology which was initiated by France and which Serbia immediately accepted with a lot of enthusiasm, has led to the results achieved at the end of the year.

She has pointed out that 2021 has been a successful year for Serbia’s European integration, and has expressed her belief that steady dynamism will be maintained in the first half of 2022, given the priorities of the French presidency.

According to her, this shows that France’s idea is well-intentioned, that the European Commission and all Member States have recognised the need to renew and invigorate the accession process, as well as that Serbia has made maximum efforts to implement all reforms in the rule of law area, in line with the criteria of the new methodology, which are necessary in this stage of negotiations and for the preparation of cluster policies.

“It seems to me that it is in this synergy that we have achieved a positive effect both for Serbia and the region, as well as for the EU”, said Joksimović.

She has stressed that Serbia will continue to implement reforms and that Cluster 3 – Inclusive growth and competitiveness is fully prepared, recalling that the EC recommended the opening of this cluster.

She has added that Serbia continues working on the constitutional reforms, expressing hope that they will be supported at the referendum scheduled for 16 January 2022, which, according to her, will complete an important set of reforms in the area of the judiciary.

Joksimović has said that Serbia also continues to work on other clusters, primarily on Cluster 5 – Resources, agriculture and cohesion.

“We’ve made a plan not only for the first six months, but for the whole year as well. I strongly believe in France’s sincere commitment to the Western Balkans and its perspective of EU membership, as announced in the priorities of the French presidency”, noted the Minister.

She has assessed that another supporting factor are the strong bilateral relations between Serbia and France, as well as the personal relations between the two presidents, Aleksandar Vučić and Emmanuel Macron.

She has emphasised that she feels encouraged by the announcement of the French presidency’s priorities, confirmed also by President Emmanuel Macron, and by the announcement of an important conference on the Western Balkans for June 2022.

“This demonstrates the clear commitment of France and everyone else in the EU to give the topics of the Western Balkans and enlargement some sort of resolution in the interest of everyone in the region, not only Serbia”, noted Joksimović.

She has stressed that Serbia strongly supports the European integration of the entire region, because that is best for the citizens of any country, expressing hope that it will give additional impetus to the enlargement policy and the Western Balkans during the French presidency.

“We are counting on the renewed dynamism of the process, and we will do everything in our power to maintain and accelerate that pace. The question is not only what the EU can do for Serbia but also what Serbia can do for the EU and contribute to an empowered, revitalised, more energetic and more competitive EU”, said Joksimović, adding that Serbia supports the priorities of the French presidency and that the EU will always have a reliable partner in Serbia.

Source: Tanjug