Serbia will on Monday during an intergovernmental conference in Brussels open two more chapters in its the EU accession negotiations.

Chapter 6 deals with company law, while chapter 30 deals with external economic relations.

According to Tanjug, analysts find it particularly interesting to see how chapter 30 will be solved, because it means that Serbia can no longer have bilateral and duty-free contracts as it does now, for example with Russia.

EU member states have decided to allow Serbia to open two more chapters, which will bring the total to 12. Prior to the final decision to open new chapters, member states, as usual, considered the progress of Serbia under chapters 23 and 24, concerning the rule of law reform and the process of normalization of relations with Pristina.

Tanjug said it learned from diplomatic sources in Brussels that all member states were not satisfied with the overall progress Serbia has made in completing the chapter 23 action plan dealing with judiciary reforms, anti-corruption policy, fundamental rights and EU citizens’ rights. On this basis, a “political decision” was made for Serbia to open two instead of three new chapters.

Beta reported on Monday afternoon that the countries that “explicitly” blocked the opening of chapter 33 included Germany, France, Sweden, Britain, and Croatia.

Tanjug said earlier that the EU “expects that in the first part of 2018, Serbia will be able to open at least three new chapters, including 33 on financial and budgetary provisions, 9 on financial services and 13 on fisheries.” These three chapters are already in the Council’s working bodies. It is also expected that in 2018 Serbia will submit to Brussels negotiating positions for these additional chapters.

EU officials have repeatedly announced that 2018 would be extremely important for progress in the enlargement process, the agency said.

They say in Brussels that the renewed momentum and EU’s commitment to enlargement must be made us of by the region by working on internal reforms and regional cooperation.

Serbia’s delegation at today’s conference is headed by Minister of EU Integration Jadranka Joksimovic.
EU member countries will be represented Estonia’s Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, while Johannes Hahn will represent the European Commission. Joksimovic and Hahn should later in the day address a press conference.