"EC made recommendation, member-states will decide"

The European Commission (EC) has made a recommendation to open Chapters 23 and 24 with Serbia and the decision now rests with the EU member-states.

Source: Tanjug

This is what head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport said in Belgrade on Thursday.

Asked during a press conference if Brussels had rejected Croatia's arguments for blocking the opening of the chapters with Serbia, Davenport said that EC recommendations were something that was discussed by the member-states and the same applied to all chapters.

"The EC has given its recommendation to open the chapter. Now it rests with the member-states to decide the next steps," stressed Davenport.

The role of the European Commission here is to give its recommendation and to assess if the candidate country is ready to open a chapter, he said.

Now we have to wait for the decisions of the member-states, said Davenport.

Also on Thursday, spokeswoman for the European Commission's (EC) Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations office Maja Kocijancic told Tanjug that the EC supported and eagerly awaited the opening of Chapters 23 and 24 in EU accession negotiations with Serbia.

Following the news about the European Commission rejecting demands by which the Croatian government virtually blocked Serbia's negotiating process and the opening of Chapter 23, Kocijancic reiterated the position stated by the EC earlier.

The European Commission eagerly awaits the next steps in the process of Serbia's accession to the European Union and the opening of Chapters 23, on judiciary and 24, on justice, freedom and security, she said.

The talks are ongoing, and the Commission is ready to proceed with the next steps as soon as we achieve unanimity among the member-states, added Kocijancic.

The Croatian demands regard primarily the issue of the Serbian law on universal jurisdiction for war crimes, and the EC holds that opening Chapter 23 should not be conditional on it and has kept the stance since the beginning, Croatia's Hina agency reported.