"Possible Chapter opening at the end of June"
Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic expects that some of the chapters for EU accession could be opened at the end of June.Source: Tanjug
The EP report on the progress of the candidate countries, which also affects the opening of negotiation chapters, has been postponed until the autumn, and the Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic says that an unofficial report will be prepared which will enable EU members to analyze what has been done in Serbia. In the course of June, some of the chapters we are ready for, will be opened.
Joksimovic explained at the press conference that every year the EC prepares an annual report on the progress of the country that is in the process of negotiations, and that report is usually published in April or May. He adds that in relation to the progress in reforms, especially in the areas of the rule of law, i.e. Chapters 23 and 24, which Serbia has opened, the member states are deciding whether to open new chapters.
"This year, the report was supposed to be in June due to the pandemic, but the EC has decided to postpone the report for all countries in the process until the fall and to combine the report package with the large economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans, as Commissioner Várhelyi had announced prior to the pandemic, Joksimovic said. As she states, that would put us in a situation where we cannot expect the opening of the chapter.
However, Joksimovic spoke yesterday with Commissioner Várhelyi, who proposed that a non-paper be drafted, an informal document that would list all matters related to the rule of law, both advantages and delays, so that member states by the end of June, which coincides with the end of the Croatian presidency, could decide whether they would support the opening of a chapter for which we are ready.
"I think that the EC, in this flexible way, by preparing an unofficial report, will give countries the opportunity to analyze the situation in Serbia, and I assume that if we opened a chapter, it would be at the end of June, probably after the elections in Serbia," Joksimovic said.
She reiterated that it is usual for the opening of the chapter to be at the end of June, and adds that in that way, Croatia would also have positive achievement of its EU presidency.
"That report should be published by mid-June, and I expect Serbia to continue its European path and open some chapters that we are ready for. The elections are going on and I think we are completely in line with what we did in the reform areas that were the subject of inter-party dialogue has improved a lot of things", the minister said.
Serbia is ready for the opening of five chapters, Joksimovic said, adding that those are: Chapter 2 - Freedom of movement for workers, Chapter 21 - Trans-European networks, 14 - Transport policy, 27 - Environment and Climate Change, and Chapter 28 - Consumer and Health Protection.
"We are ready, open, we have done a lot and I think we are really going in a good direction, but it depends on the estimates of the member states how many chapters will be open and which ones. We have done most part of our job, and that is the most important thing," Joksimovic concluded.