BRUSSELS – The Netherlands, EU presidency holder for the first half of 2016, Wednesday tried to have the EU member states reach a consensus regarding opening Chapter 23 in negotiations between Serbia and the EU, following a break of several weeks in discusing this matter, but Croatia headed these efforts off once again.

As Tanjug learned from diplomatic sources in Brusels, the Dutch EU presidency had placed the topic on the agenda of the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (COREPER) meeting in Brussels today, even though it was clear from earlier talks with Croatia on the issue that its its stance against opening Chapter 23 with Serbia would remain unchanged.

The meeting of ambassadorial level representatives was closed to the public and diplomatic sources from the Council of the EU say that Croatia still wants Serbia to annul its law that claims regional jurisdiction in the prosecution of war crimes and to provide guarantees that the Croatian minority would be represented in the Serbian parliament in bigger numbers.

The Netherlands insists that Chapters 23 and 24 in negotiations with Serbia should be fully opened during their presdency, which expires in June.

It is one of the reasons why the issue was raised from the level of Council Working Group on Enlargement (COELA) to the level of permanent representatives of EU member states.