EC official: End of screening next week

BELGRADE -- Serbia should complete the screening of the negotiating chapters in the European Union accession process next week, Christian Danielsson has announced.


The director general of the Directorate for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission was visiting Belgrade this week.

"Serbia has shown great dedication and professionalism," Danielsson said on Thursday during a session of the Parliamentary Committee for Stabilization and Association between the EU and Serbia, Beta reported.

He also announced that the opening of the negotiating chapters was "now expected."

Danielsson said that the most important areas are the rule of law, statement administration reform, economy and finance management, the independence, impartiality and efficiency of the judiciary, and combating corruption, as this is how a better economic climate is created and investors attracted.

He recalled that Serbia receives EUR200 million in grants each year and that the way these are spent is very important, and he underscored that one of the priorities is investment in infrastructure.

The European official also said that the dialog with Pristina is linked with the EU accession negotiations and that progress had been made in this respect.

Serbian Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic said that constitutional changes are forthcoming, the goal of which will be greater judicial independence, and for judicial reform in Serbia to be conducted "despite all the difficulties that have existed in this system for decades."

Selakovic added that "this government had done more than any other before to solve the murders of journalists Slavko Curuvija, Dada Vujasinovic, and Milan Pantic."

According to him, the pillar of judicial reforms will be the Justice Academy that has been set up, "but has not strengthened enough."

It was difficult to for Serbia to reach an agreement on judiciary in the dialogue with Pristina, but Serbia showed a constructive approach and now expects the agreement to be efficiently implemented, he concluded.

The Beta news agency quoted the EU Delegation in Serbia who announced that Christian Danielsson "underscored at the end of his two-day visit to Serbia the importance of implementing reforms, especially in the areas of the judiciary, freedom of expression and media freedom, and public administration."

He "emphasized that the EU is resolute in supporting Serbia on its path to European integration and commended the implementation of economic reforms, encouraging Serbian officials to continue with reforms in all areas, says the statement."

Danielsson met with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, members of the government, the heads of independent regulatory bodies and civil society representatives, as well as with representatives of the local authorities in Novi Sad.