Lithuania blocking chapter because of Belgrade-Moscow ties
Lithuania continues to oppose Serbia opening EU accession negotiations chapter 31 on foreign, security and defense policy.Source: Tanjug
The reason for this is primarily the relationship between Belgrade and Moscow, and the Serbian Minister for EU Integration Jadranka Joksimovic says that the opening of the chapter in question is unlikely to happen by the end of the year.
"The negotiation procedure is such that if you know in the middle of the current year that the report has not been adopted, then it is clear it can be difficult to open (the chapter) by the end of the year," Joksimovic told Vecernje Novosti, when asked whether it it should be expected that chapter 31 would be opened by the end of the year, and why the screening report has been awaited for four years.
"Chapter 31 was usually not too demanding, but as international relations complicated and EU states themselves had to agree to reach consensus on some issues, the expectations from some members towards the candidates have changed," the minister said.
Asked if Lithuania was the only EU member that is against Belgrade opening this chapter, Joksimovic said that according to EU rules the screening report for chapter 31 is the subject of a closed diplomatic debate between its 28 members.
"It needs to be be understood that in assessing each issue of relevance to the foreign and security policy of a member, they proceed from their own national interests and raise it by consensus to the level of a common EU policy. The candidate country is expected to achieve alignment with the EU common foreign and security policy gradually," said Joksimovic.
She pointed out to the fact that Serbia is one of the countries that most contribute to European security in our region.
"We proved this during our chairmanship of the OSCE during the migration crisis, in the fight against terrorism... As a state that is not a member of any military-political alliance, we have the obligation and the right to take care of our own security and our own national interests. Serbia's foreign policy coordinates with thus defined policy of national security, and the framework is certainly the process of European integration, which is our foreign policy priority," Joksimovic said.