BELGRADE – European Parliament rapporteur on Serbia David McAllister said in Belgrade Tuesday that it was now time to open the first chapter in accession negotiations between Serbia and the EU, adding that it was obvious that the first to be opened would be Chapter 35.
Chapter 35 deals with the process of normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and McAllister said that its opening would depend on whether it was possible to make further progress when it came to setting up a Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM).
Belgrade and Pristina have to sign a legally binding agreement at the end of the process, McAllister told journalists, adding that the first chapters would probably be opened in the current year.
McAllister said that the decision to open the chapters is made by all 28 EU member-states and the European Commission only makes a recommendation, adding that Chapters 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights), 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security) and 32 (Financial Control) could be opened along with Chapter 35.
According to McAllister, the most pressing issue at the moment is finding a solution for the CSM, and Pristina, as well as Belgrade, needs to do what it is supposed to do.
He said that we had to be aware of the fact that opening the chapters was only the starting point for real work ahead of Serbia.