New negotiating chapters opened by Montenegro and Serbia

BRUSSELS – Delegations of Montenegro and Serbia have opened new negotiating chapters at their twelfth and ninth Accession Conference in Brussels, respectively.

Montenegro has opened Chapter 27 – Environment and Climate Change, while Serbia has opened Chapter 17 – Economic and monetary policy and Chapter 18 – Statistics.

The European Union delegation was led by Ms Karin Kneissl, the Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The European Commission was represented by Mr Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

The Montenegrin delegation was led by Prof. Dr. Srdjan Darmanović, Minister of Foreign Affairs, with line Minister Pavle Radulović, responsible for Sustainable Development and Tourism, intervening. The Serbian delegation, on the other hand, Ms Jadranka Joksimović, Minister of European integration.

With this conference, Montenegro now has 32 of 35 opened chapters, while, for Serbia, that number is 16. Further Accession Conferences will be planned, as appropriate, in order to take the process forward in the first half of 2019, Council of the EU confirmed.

Montenegro will have to align with multiple EU regulations (on air quality, on water sector, chemicals, noise and civil protection sectors…) It will also have to decide on its waste management system and dedicates appropriate funding to infrastructure investments, submit the list of proposed Natura 2000 sites and meet various other criteria. The Chapter 27 is considered to be one of the most challenging and expensive ones.

Serbia’s future obligations include ensuring full central bank independence, the prohibition of monetary financing of the public sector, the prohibition of privileged access by public authorities to financial institutions, and the full integration of its central bank into the European System of Central Banks.

It will also have to submit key national accounts data in accordance with European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA) 2010 and other relevant requirements together with the required detailed description of the methodology used.