European Western Balkans

Montenegro to open its final chapter with EU, Serbia only the second this year

European Council meeting; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – According to information that Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) has acquired on Wednesday, EU member states have agreed to open Chapter 4 – Free Movement of Capital in their membership negotiations with Serbia, while Radio Free Europe reports that Montenegro will open its final Chapter.

The frontrunner country has received the green light from the EU Member States to open Chapter 8 – Competition, which is the last chapter in Montenegro’s accession negotiations. This information was confirmed on Wednesday by the General Secretariat of the Government of Montenegro for Radio Free Europe (RSE).

“It is a confirmation that Montenegro has done all that was necessary in this area and that the Member States have recognized it. It is now up to the Member States and the European Commission (EC) to schedule an intergovernmental conference at which this chapter will be formally opened”, the RSE Secretariat told the Government of Montenegro.

Montenegro began the accession negotiations with the European Union in June 2012, and has so far opened 32 of its 33 chapters, provisionally closing three.

Serbia has opened 17 out of 35 chapters since 2014, the latest of which was Chapter 9 – Financial Services in June this year. EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi said on Tuesday that one Chapter will be opened, but that expectations are higher than one chapter, Fonet reports.

Even though, according to RTS, Serbia is technically ready to open Chapter 2 on the Free movement of workers, Chapter 21 on Trans-European networks and Chapter 14 on Transport policy, a political agreement has only been reached for Chapter 4.

The pace of Serbia’s accession process has thus significantly slowed down. In 2017, the country opened six negotiating chapters, and in 2018 four of them. This year, it has not only opened just two new Chapters, but also failed to close a single one, much like Montenegro.

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