MINISTER for European Integration Jadranka Joksimović stated today that Spain will support the opening of two clusters within Serbia’s European integration, adding that the topic of EU enlargement is gaining more and more importance in the Union itself, despite numerous challenges and stagnation that everyone in the region more or less feels.
As she stated, this is confirmed by the conference entitled “The next EU enlargement: perspectives and obstacles”, which was held today in Madrid, and in which Joksimović participated.
– For us and our citizens, Spain is undoubtedly one of the greatest friends in the European Union, we have exceptional bilateral relations and it is a country that is consistent in its principled policy towards enlargement and towards Serbia – said Joksimović.
In that sense, he adds, he considers the conference an extremely important format in which he could present what Serbia has done, what it expects in the coming period and what it sees as potential challenges, not only for Serbia and the enlargement process, but for the entire Western Balkans.
As the most important message from today’s meeting, especially the bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State for European Affairs of Spain Juan Gonzalez Pera Barba, Joksimović singled out that Spain announced that it would support the opening of both clusters with Serbia – Cluster 3, which includes inclusive growth and competitiveness. and Cluster 4, which addresses the green agenda and sustainable connectivity.
Spain believes that Serbia, as the country’s Progress Report has shown, has really done a lot in previous years, Joksimovic said, adding that they believe that in recent months intensive work has been done in accordance with the principles of the new methodology in both the rule of law and compliance. all the criteria necessary for the opening of Cluster 3 and Cluster 4.
Joksimović reminds that Cluster 3 has eight chapters, as well as that Cluster 4 has four chapters.
She states that Pera Barba told her that the Government of Shania considers that the support for the opening of both clusters is a credible response of the European Union and, at least on their part, Spain, to everything that Serbia has shown in the previous period.
As he says, support for the opening of the cluster is credible. especially having in mind the gravity of the situation for the entire European Union due to the kovid pandemic and for the region itself, and of course for Serbia.
– They think that it is important that we do not lose enthusiasm, that we are really actively prepared to respond to the demands of the new methodology, to do everything in our power to speed up the process and get new dynamics, but, I say, it will depend from the decision of all member states – she said.
Joksimović thinks that it is very important that Spain sent us a positive message because, as he says, Spain is a big country, an important country.
– Although all member states are important, this attitude is important for us because it is a very respectable EU country and our great friend. For me personally and as the chief negotiator and Minister for European Integration, it always means that we hear and receive support from Spain for what is part of our accession process, so that the announcement that it will support the opening of both clusters is additional proof of really good bilateral relations. which we have to the sincere support of Spain for the entire region, but also for Serbia in particular – said Joksimović.
At the conference itself, at the seminar where representatives from the region also participated, there were many expressed frustrations regarding the EU enlargement policy, especially regarding the situation with Northern Macedonia and the bilateral conditions that exist on their European path, Joksimovic said.
He adds that there were also representatives of Albania and Montenegro, and that it has been shown that most partners in the region feel some stagnation in the process.
As he says, he thinks that we should all be a little more optimistic, because after all, everything is done for the sake of the societies in the region and the countries.
He adds that the countries of the region expect that this will be followed in a credible way by the accession process, ie the dynamics of the accession process that will follow the real reforms that are being implemented in our societies.
He believes that Serbia will take an important step by the end of the Slovenian presidency at the Intergovernmental Conference.
– Whether it will be the opening of one or two clusters, I still cannot confirm because the member states are still analyzing and will give their view on whether Serbia deserved one or two. I personally think and absolutely openly say that we have long deserved progress in the negotiations – she emphasized.
According to him, both the Spanish public and participants in the Elcano Institute, the Spanish institute dealing with the most important foreign policy issues, have nice words about Serbia both in terms of responsibility during the migrant crisis and in terms of responding to the pandemic, vaccination, solidarity shown, not only with the region. but also with the European Union.
Joksimovic adds that they were heard to see Serbia in a way that asks not only what the European Union can do for us, but what we can do in this position for our neighbors and the rest of the European Union and how to contribute empowering and strengthening the entire European continent.
According to her, the conference also discussed whether representatives of the Western Balkans should participate in the Conference on the Future of Europe.
– My position was very clear – if you count on us when it comes to challenges, then you must give the citizens of Serbia and all other societies in the Western Balkans the opportunity to say how we see the future of the entire European continent – she said.
He added that other bilateral issues were also discussed.
Joksimović participated in the conference, which was organized in coordination with the Slovenian presidency of the European Union in Madrid, at the invitation of the director of the Elcano Institute, Charles Powell.
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