UK, Croatia still blocking Serbia’s EU path

SOURCETanjug

BRUSSELS – No consensus was reached in Brussels on Thursday on the opening of Chapters 23 and 24 in Serbia’s EU accession talks, sources in the Council of the EU confirmed to Tanjug.

There is still no agreement, and this issue will now have to be dealt with by the Slovak EU presidency, an EU official told Tanjug.

Serbian Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic is in Brussels and is scheduled to speak to reporters later in the day.

According to unofficial sources, the lack of consensus ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (COREPER) came as no surprise to Serbia.

The Netherlands, which ends its six-month EU presidency on Thursday, had also unofficially confirmed that, as scheduled earlier, the opening of the chapters would be discussed by COREPER, but that a longer debate – or a decision on holding an intergovernmental conference later in the day to open the chapters – was not expected due to the lack of consensus.

The Netherlands had planned to open the chapters by the end of its EU presidency, but a consensus on a common EU negotiation position for Chapter 23 could not be reached, which unofficial sources say was due to a lack of consent from two countries that had cited substantial objections and technical problems, respectively.

Croatia’s caretaker Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic said in Brussels on Wednesday that Croatia had not changed its position and that its demands regarding war crimes trials, minority rights and Serbia’s cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia remained the same.

Slovakia, which takes over the EU presidency on Friday, has announced that it wanted to see Serbia make progress on the path towards EU membership and that it expected the country to open more new chapters during its presidency.

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