BELGRADE – Nebojsa Lazarevic, director of the European Policy Centre and a core member of the Serbian negotiating team in the EU accession talks, says the goal should be not only to open negotiation chapters, but carry out substantial reforms.

“Serbia has passed many harmonised regulations but they are often not implemented. On the other hand, the costs will outweigh the benefits of membership if we join the EU when we are not ready,” Lazarevic said.

Many technical issues related to EU accession require constitutional amendments, some of which, under the Constitution, require referendums, he said.

As there will be referendums on EU membership and constitutional amendments, “it would be good to merge them into one to save time and money,” he said.

EU membership “is not a cheap toy” – Chapter 27 (environment) alone calls for investing over 11 bln euros, he said.