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J. Joksimović and Roth on Serbia’s negotiations and new methodology

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has held a video meeting today with Michael Roth, the Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office. They have discussed the current epidemiological situation in the two countries and the EU, as well as Serbia’s European integration process.

Joksimović and Roth have also talked about the issues related to the EU’s internal situation, particularly regarding the new seven-year budget, the place and the future of the enlargement policy and the Western Balkans, notably about all aspects of Serbia’s accession process, challenges and expectations from the new methodology, which should bring a faster negotiation process that would be better monitored and directed under stronger political steering.

Joksimović has particularly informed Roth about the fact that the Government of Serbia prepared a concrete implementation plan for the first negotiation cluster on the rule of law, which comprises five rule-of-law chapters that have already been opened, adding that the realisation of the plan has already begun.

“This serious implementation plan includes a repeated initiative sent to the National Assembly for the adoption of constitutional amendments, the adoption of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Media Strategy, as well as the Working Group on monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan and the Working Group on journalist safety and protection”, said Joksimović, according to the press release published by the Ministry of European Integration.

She has also stressed that GRECO recommendations for the fight against corruption have been published in a transparent way, and that further actions will be taken in line with them.

She has further presented all other important segments of Serbia’s reform policy in all six clusters, including Green Agenda, digitisation, Economic and Investment Plan for the WB, and stable and sound macroeconomic indicators, stressing that, therefore, this year, Serbia has again undeniably demonstrated that it deeply and substantively participates in key EU policies and that it is a credible European country.

Joksimović has emphasised that Serbia understands that the EU and member states will need some more time to define the application of the new methodology to Serbia’s negotiation process, and that it is therefore important to maintain a constant and open dialogue so as to direct the process in line with the new methodology.

She has expressed regret that conclusions on enlargement have not been adopted this year and that, consequently, the political Intergovernmental Conference with Serbia has not been held during the German presidency.

On the other hand, the Minister has expressed belief that the upcoming Stabilisation and Association Council will offer an opportunity to discuss all political and economic aspects of Serbia’s process at the highest level.

Roth has thanked Minister Joksimović for the information and issues she shared, as well as for Serbia’s proactive approach regarding reforms and active acceptance of the new methodology.

He has underlined that Germany supports Serbia and the enlargement policy, particularly welcoming all significant steps that the new Serbian Government has already taken, especially regarding cluster 1 – rule of law, where he stressed that they are an important and positive signal for Serbia’s European path.

He has agreed with Minister Joksimović about the need to urgently define the application of the new methodology to countries that are already in the accession process, where clusters of European policies and Serbia’s participation therein become an instrument for measuring progress in the accession process.

He has conveyed that Germany will advocate the holding of the political Intergovernmental Conference with Serbia in the first half of 2021.

The interlocutors have particularly discussed the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, agreeing that it represents another proof that the European Union gives strategic importance to a stable and sustainable development of the region, particularly in difficult circumstances of curbing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joksimović has thanked Minister Roth for Germany’s long-term and concrete assistance to Serbia’s European integration, not only at the political level, but also through providing development assistance for financing reform projects, and successful strategic investments that have created a significant number of new jobs.

The interlocutors have also agreed that it is extremely important that, through the COVAX Facility, Serbia has ensured that its access to vaccines procured by the EU will be almost simultaneous with the EU member states’ access.

Source: Tanjug

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