Jadranka Joksimovic says she hopes Serbia would open “two or three” new chapters in EU membership negotiations this year “despite the difficulties.”

“I do not want to speculate, but this concerns Chapter 7 on protection of intellectual property rights and Chapter 29 on the customs union. We have adopted the negotiating position for Chapter 30, and I think Chapter 6 is on the way, too,” the minister without portfolio for EU integration has said, according to Tanjug.

Addressing a plenary session of the National Convention on the EU, she added:

“We have a chance to maintain a good dynamic by the end of Malta’s EU presidency, and to, in the second part of the year, work and maintain the path to stability through successful EU integrations.”
The minister called upon civil society representatives to “explain to citizens that European integration is not a process we are forced to do by Brussels, but a mechanism that allows us to do things faster and better to our advantage.”

“Of course, a referendum (on EU membership) exist as an option, for citizens to, at the end of the final stage, decide, based on the presented successes and problems, whether (EU) membership is a legitimate choice for Serbia,” said Joksimovic.

The minister went on to say that “there exists a very superficial and demagogically supported information” about Serbia being “constantly somehow blackmailed.”

Noting that EU integration is often perceived as a technical matter, Joksimovic stressed that it is “much more than that – (it is) not only a foreign policy but also an internal political decision to move towards prosperity and democratization.”

According to Joksimovic, political circumstances in the region represent “a kind of a political precondition” – while “not enough understanding for the developments in the region is being shown.”
“I think some people in the region are not showing understanding and goodwill – if something has been said which leads to poor relations, I expect that to be explicitly condemned by the EU,” she said.

On the other hand, Joksimovic thinks that – “although the vocabulary of the EU is sometimes very bureaucratized” – this does not mean the organization is not sending a clear message.

“But their answer must be explicit if they wish to keep and preserve credibility and stability,” Joksimovic concluded.