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EU opens first chapters in accession negotiations with Serbia

BELGRADE / BRUSSELS – On Second Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) between EU and Serbia, long term negotiation process will be lunched. At 19:00 in Brussels talks will begin, said EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn. Initially will be open two chapters of the negotiations on financial control (Chapter 32) and the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo (Chapter 35).

Hahn noted that Serbia should reform its judicial and administrative system, economy, and fight corruption and discrimination, to work towards the consolidation of freedom of speech. “These reforms are needed not for the sake of Serbia’s EU accession, but because they give the chance to modernize the country,” he said.

TANJUG_maliSerbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić said that Serbia is absolutely ready to open chapters in its entry negotiations with the European Union. „Nearly two years following the official launch of EU accession talks, Serbia will open the first two chapters, Chapter 32 on financial control and Chapter 35 that deals with Kosovo,” Vučić said in a statement to Belgrade-based daily Blic. Noting that a big and important event lies ahead of Serbia on Monday, Vučić underscored that the opening of chapters sets Serbia on an irreversible path toward the bloc.

Asked whether Serbia is ready for Chapters 32 and 35, Vučić said that the country is absolutely ready for Chapter 32 and expects to close it quickly. As for Chapter 35, the PM said this chapter is very difficult and will remain open until the end of Serbia’s EU accession process.

“Serbia is ready for the opening of chapters, wishing openly to complete the negotiation process by 2019 despite all the difficulties that we may face, so that we could apply for membership in 2020, and thus not wait for the next budget cycle for seven years,” said FM Ivica Dačić, noting that the first big step has been made.

The formal opening of the first chapters in Serbia’s EU accession talks is an indicator of Serbia’s progress on the European integration path, Maja Kocijančič, spokesperson for the EU foreign policy and security chief, said in a statement to Tanjug Saturday. Ahead of Monday’s EU-Serbia intergovernmental conference in Brussels, Kocijančič was asked what Serbia will have to face first on its European path, to which she responded that all 35 chapters must be opened and also closed.

PM Aleksandar Vučić, FM Ivica Dačić, Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, Finance Minister Dušan Vujović and Serbia’s chief EU negotiator Tanja Miščević will also be in the delegation, with the EU to be represented by Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn – whose country holds the EU presidency – and officials of EU member states.

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