"Germany blocks opening of first chapter in EU talks"

By the end of this year, Serbia will not open the first chapter in the accession negotiations with the EU, a daily writes.

Source: Beta, Vecernje novosti

The Belgrade-based Vecernje Novoti is reporting that this topic has already been "removed from the agenda."

There is no consensus among member-states of the European Union on the right time for the official start of negotiations between Serbia and the organization, the paper said.

Decisions on the opening of chapters are made on three levels - after diplomatic experts of EU member-states agree on a technical level, the question shifts to the ambassadors of the 28 countries that sit within the "Coreper" framework.

The final position is presented by the foreign ministers to the Council of Ministers, and the daily is quoting an unnamed source who said the process halted in the first phase.

"After several attempts to make progress, this important issue of the opening of the first negotiating chapter with Serbia is off the agenda because it has become apparent that there is no political consensus."

The daily also reported that it was Germany that acted as the main "obstructionists", although the majority of EU members were ready to send a positive signal to Serbia. The opening of the first chapter will therefore have to wait until 2015.

"Serbia is responsible"

Secretary General of the European Movement in Serbia Maja Bobic has stated that no chapters are likely to be opened by the end of the year, and blamed Serbia.

"Ultimately, it depends on many actors, and the responsibility should mostly be sought on our side, although it also rests with other parties in the negotiation process," she told the Beta agency.

Bobic added that it was "a great pity" as Serbia was "in the process of screening for more than a year, so the opening of a chapter would have been an additional incentive for the administration to be even more engaged."

She said that it was clearly stated in the negotiating framework of the European Union that the process would begin with three key chapters - 23, 24 and 35, relating to the fight against corruption and crime, human rights, and Kosovo.

"These chapters will be first on the agenda and dictate the dynamic of the negotiations. The fact is that chapters 23 and 24 are not ready, the action plans which are a condition for the opening have not been completed, that was the duty of the government of Serbia. The preparation of the action plans was planned to be completed in early 2015," said Bobic.

She added that chapter 35, which refers to Kosovo, remains " largely unknown to all negotiating parties in the process - Belgrade, Pristina and the EU."

"The requirement was to achieve full implementation of the Brussels agreement, which was not done," said Bobic.

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