Bulgaria has, for the fist time since becoming an EU member ten years ago, taken over the organization’s six-month rotating presidency.
The Western Balkans’ EU perspective has been states as one of Sofia’s priorities.
2017 was a challenging year with elections in several key EU countries, and Brexit. Serbia is relatively satisfied with the six open chapters in its EU accession talks, says EU Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimovic, and points out that she expects at least three more chapters to be opened in 2018.
“Chapters 33, 9 and 13. Our work is accelerated, and chapter 18 – statistics, 28 – consumer protection and 4 – free trade are already in the final phase,” Joksimovic emphasized.
A new strategy for enlargement of the European Union will be presented in February, and the Serbian negotiating team expects Serbia to be treated “in accordance with the results.”
“There, guidelines will be given for further development of Euro integration of Serbia and Montenegro and it will significantly follow the dynamics, as well as harmonize our legislation with the legislation of the European Union and other acts that are necessary for us on this path to the EU,” says Dragan Djukanovic from the Center for Foreign Policy.
“I told this to the partners – you cannot now correct the previous mistakes you made on Serbia, because the process will lose credibility,” Joksimovic added.
During the process, Brussels also finds important the implementation of the Belgrade-Pristina agreements. The final agreement should be signed at the end of the negotiation process – but…
“I heard announcements of introducing some new deadlines, some new dynamics around the dialogue process, I’m not sure that this is wise, and it would not be good to undermine the framework of the dialogue,” says Joksimovic.
Nevertheless, euroscepticism was on the rise last year in Serbia. That is nothing strange, say those with knowledge of the circumstances.
“Probably because of the comprehensive reforms, which leave certain circles unhappy within the process,” Djukanovic said.
What is a fact and what will have to change is that the implementation of all the adopted laws remains Serbia’s biggest problem.