"35 steps to Serbia's EU membership"
BELGRADE -- Once it finally begins accession talks with the EU, Serbia will face 35 chapters in the negotiating process, Tanjug is reporting.
They will need to open and close before the country can achieve full-fledged membership.
The chapters cover practically all aspects of state administration, from tax policy to fishing regulation, from security to culture and education, and each one must be opened and closed by the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, which is made up of the foreign ministers of all 28 member states.
While some chapters can be closed relatively quickly, others will take considerably more time.
What is more, Brussels' stance toward candidate countries has changed in recent years, with a lot more attention being paid to making sure all EU rules and standards (acquis) are strictly respected.
Croatia was in talks for six years, longer than any other EU member country, and last year the EU introduced a rule that chapters 23 and 24, related to the rule of law and human rights, are the first to be opened and the last to be closed.
The new method, first applied to Montenegro which was just in the process of starting talks, was introduced because it was noticed that candidate countries, particularly in the Western Balkans, struggle most with these areas, and following the experience with Bulgaria and Romania which, according to a general consensus, entered the EU before they suppressed crime and corruption to a level tolerable to the EU.
Judging by the state of the Serbian justice system and the record number of complaints from its citizens to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the country will have a tough time climbing these two steps, but will also open another chapter at the beginning - chapter 35, marked "other issues."
As European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule explained last week, in Serbia's case this refers to normalization of relations with Priština, so the dialogue with representatives of the Kosovo government will continue alongside the accession talks with the EU.
Many of the remaining 32 chapters will also pose difficulties - chapter 17 (economic and monetary policy), for instance, requires independence of the central bank and prohibits direct financing of the public sector by the central bank, while chapter 5 requires strict public procurement procedures.
To close chapter 15, Serbia must open up its energy market to foreign companies; power plants will be prohibited from emitting toxic gases (chapter 27, environment), and parts of the European road and rail network must be completed (chapter 14, transport policy).
July 1, 2013 | 16:57 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Marko Đurić expects "some results" in the Belgrade-Priština technical negotiations of working groups in Brussels before the next Dačić-Thaci meeting.
July 1, 2013 | 15:54 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (2) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- President Tomislav Nikolić's meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy "is a clear signal that the European future of Serbia is certain."
July 1, 2013 | 15:16 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (10) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- European Council (EC) President Herman Van Rompuy has said Serbia had full support from the EC on its path to EU membership.
July 1, 2013 | 12:03 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
ZAGREB -- President Tomislav Nikolić arrived in Zagreb on Sunday afternoon, where he headed Serbia's state delegation at a central celebration of Croatia joining the EU.
July 1, 2013 | 10:33 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Aleksandar Vulin has said that Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija were "the most deserving of getting a date for the opening of EU accession talk with Serbia."
July 1, 2013 | 09:11 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (28) | Send comment
ZAGREB -- Croatian President Ivo Josipović on Monday hosted a working breakfast for leaders of the countries of the region, which was attended by Tomislav Nikolić.
June 28, 2013 | 17:02 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (9) | Send comment
KRUŠEVAC -- Prime Minister Dačić says the decision of the European Council to open accession negotiations was final, historic, but that "Serbia was not too satisfied."
June 28, 2013 | 16:57 | Source: B92 | Comments: (66) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Several Serbs, at least three children among them, suffered injuries on Friday when the buses they were traveling in were attacked with stones.
June 28, 2013 | 15:07 | Source: B92 | Comments: (15) | Send comment
BRUSSELS -- European Union leaders on Friday in Brussels decided to open accession negotiations with Serbia in January at the latest.
June 28, 2013 | 14:01 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (2) | Send comment
VISOKI DEČANI -- Aleksandar Vučić said on Friday that he will "continue to fight for a more secure and prosperous future for all citizens of Serbia, including those in Kosovo."
June 28, 2013 | 13:23 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (7) | Send comment
KRUŠEVAC -- President Tomislav Nikolić on Friday laid a wreath at the Monument to Kosovo Heroes in Kruševac, central Serbia.
June 28, 2013 | 12:48 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (4) | Send comment
PRIŠTINA -- The assembly in Priština on Thursday "ratified the agreement on normalization of relations in Belgrade," Tanjug has reported.
June 28, 2013 | 10:14 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (6) | Send comment
BRUSSELS -- Belgrade and Priština are very close to reaching an agreement on the issue of telecommunications in Kosovo and Metohija.
June 28, 2013 | 09:47 | Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug | Comments: (10) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- European Union leaders will on Friday begin the second day of their regular summit, with Serbia on the agenda around noon or early afternoon.
June 28, 2013 | 09:19 | Source: Beta, Tanjug | Comments: (3) | Send comment
VIENNA -- Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić has said that he was "not thrilled" with the conclusions of the German parliament.
June 27, 2013 | 15:15 | Source: Beta, Tanjug | Comments: (8) | Send comment
BERLIN -- The German parliament has authorized the German government to vote in favor of the beginning of the EU accession talks with Serbia.
June 27, 2013 | 14:47 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (0) | Send comment
ST. PETERSBURG -- Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin met in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
June 27, 2013 | 13:58 | Source: Tanjug, ITAR-TASS | Comments: (0) | Send comment
MOSCOW -- The prospects for cooperation between Serbia and Russia are better than ever, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić said ahead of his visit to Russia.
June 27, 2013 | 13:48 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has said that he believes "Serbia will get an unconditional date for EU accession talks" on Friday.