Serbia "at beginning of challenging process"

BELGRADE -- Serbia has made "a historic progress but it is still at the very beginning of a very challenging process," MPs heard on Thursday.

(Beta)
(Beta)

They heard the results of the screening in three chapters of future EU membership negotiations, presented by Minister without Portfolio in charge of European integration Branko Ružić and Serbia's chief negotiator with the EU Tanja Miščević.

Through its legislative activities and control of law implementation, the parliament needs to play the key role in the EU accession talks, they said.

Replying to the questions of MPs as to why the EU negotiating framework for Serbia has not been released yet, Miščević and Ružić said that the confidentiality or publicity of the process depends on the EU as well.

“We should not raise alarm concerning the publicity of the process because we are not alone in the process and there are certain rules which have to be respected, but the committee will never lack relevant information,” Ružić said.

Miščević also said that there is no reason for the EU negotiating framework to be labelled as confidential but it is up to the owner of the document to decide when it will make it public.

“Even if we wanted all relevant documents to be made public, we cannot achieve this without the consent of the other side. For as long as the EU has the designation of limited official use, we cannot post the document on our website,” Miščević said.

Miščević noted that Serbia's shortlist negotiating team to be nominated by her has not been set up yet, and added that the reason for this lies in other priorities in the preparation for formal initiation of the talks.

“Serbia's negotiating team has been set up and it gathers over 2,000 people. It includes all of us who are participating in the screening and preparation of materials, but we do not have the shortlist team which may comprise 10 to 12 people appointed by the government,” Miščević said.

She expressed optimism concerning the dynamics of the talks and concluded that the European Commission itself stated in its documents that Serbia could conclude the talks within three to five years.