EU Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said last night that Serbia “will soon become a part of the European family.”

During his talks in Brussels with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Hahn thanked Serbia for its key role in stabilizing the region.

“I am very pleased that the first official visit of Prime Minister Brnabic is to Brussels, which shows the significance and committment she attaches to the relationship with the EU. A great deal of work has been done which will soon pay off with the opening of new (EU membership negotiations) chapters,” said Hahn.

He further noted that Serbia was “rapidly progressing to take advantage of the moment that came after the speech of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, where a clear signal was given to the region that the EU unambiguously supports the policy of enlargement in the Western Balkans.”

“The EU door is open to new entries that will come at the moment when countries meet the criteria. Serbia is well positioned as one of the leading countries in the process of Euro-integration,” said the commissioner.

Hahn described the process as “a marathon where it is calculated how quickly, but also, how well the reforms from accession chapters can be implemented.”

“We want to move forward towards Serbia’s entry into the EU. When that will be, is in Serbia’s hands. Without a doubt Serbia belongs in Europe and will soon become a part of the European family,” said he.
He stated that he was encouraged by the progress of Serbia and the sense of responsibility of Prime Minister Brnabic when it comes to the field of rule of law, which, according to Hahn, will greatly determine the speed of the European integration path of Serbia.

He also thanked Brnabic for “the key role of Serbia in the region with regard to stability” which the country achieves “through dialogue and cross-border cooperation.”

Hahn also said that he spoke with Brnabic about “the objections that Belgrade has” regarding the position of the European Commission when it comes to the cases of Kosovo and Catalonia.

“I understand the sensitivity of this issue in Serbia and it’s good to talk and solve it. It is important now to look to the future to see what can be done about the courageous initiative of President Aleksandar Vucic about an internal dialogue and how to support the further development of Serbia and the region,” Hahn concluded.

According to the remarks published by the Serbian government, Brnabic said after her meeting with Hahn that the opening of new chapters in Serbia’s accession negotiations with the EU is expected by the end of the year.

At the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, Brnabic said that this would be an important signal for our citizens and the administration that has worked on it.

The prime minister stated that she sees the European integration of Serbia as a process based on three basic principles, on economic development and macroeconomic stability, public administration reform and the rule of law.

According to Brnabic, in the last three years the best results have been achieved in the area of macroeconomic stability, much of it has been done on public administration reform, and much more needs to be done in order to have a public administration that our citizens and the economy deserve.

Now is the time to focus on the third pillar, that is, the rule of law, Brnabic said, adding that Serbia is not working on these reforms for the EU, but in order to have its own more transparent, more efficient and predictable judiciary.

She added that Serbia cannot make progress towards the EU and in the field of the economy without regional stability and that is why our country has a leading role in the Berlin Process.