BRUSSELS – At the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels, Serbia on Tuesday opened two new chapters in its EU accession talks – Chapter 5 on public procurement and Chapter 25 on science and research.

Chapter 25, which contains no criteria and primarily falls under national authority, was also closed immediately.

Chapter 26 on education and culture was not opened, which is why Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic had decided not to attend the conference.

Serbia was represented by Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic.

European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn believes Serbia will next year open more negotiation chapters in its EU accession talks than it did in 2016.

Speaking at a press conference following the Serbia-EU intergovernmental conference in Brussels, Hahn said a decision had been made to open two chapters on Tuesday, but expressed confidence Serbia would soon also open Chapter 26.

The EU has 28 member states – there are always discussions about the opening of chapters and some decisions take time, Hahn said, adding that he was certain the fact Chapter 26 had not been opened would not affect the negotiation process.