Jadranka Joksimović, Minister For European Integration EU Integration:

Road Sign, Not An Excuse For Reform

When we talk about Serbia’s strategic foreign policy goal of becoming an EU member, we always emphasise that this goal is actually a means of advancing the lives of citizens and improving the society in which we live

Joksimovic

In my capacity as minister in charge of European Integration, I have always claimed that a much more important question than whether and when Serbia can become part of the EU is the question of why exactly the European solution is the right response to our social and political everyday life, and part of the solution for the goals that we have ambitiously set for ourselves. Are we today ready to act like a member of the Union and to be at the forefront of promoting the European values that have been somewhat forgotten on the old continent? A society in which the most important values are represented by pluralism, tolerance, solidarity, the fight against discrimination and strengthening democratic institutions, as a guarantee for preserving the stated values, are the rules of the game that we have set for ourselves – not because we see them as conditions for membership, but because we want to live in such a society, and such a Europe.

Proving that these values are not and must not be a goal achieved once is the debate on the future of the EU. It is today more necessary than ever to remember that Europe is not a symbol of economic strength and the most desirable destination because it is closed within national frameworks, but rather because its very foundations are openness, freedom and solidarity. Above all, the EU remains the best economic and political model due to the culture of compromise and the readiness to respond to every crisis with the kind of common solutions that can produce the best results.

Can Serbia be a part of Europe that gives clear answers and offers concrete solutions to the challenges posed? I consider changing political awareness as being one of the important successes of the previous government. It doesn’t matter what you talk about, but rather what solutions you in a position to offer and how much you have done. The criterion of political action that we have set ourselves is what we are willing to do in order for words to be converted into deeds. I think that deeds are exactly what differentiate us from every other political option, and every political option in Serbia has had a chance to show what it can do. Every political option to date has gone along the line of least resistance in preserving political ratings, which as a rule did not result in the growth of standards, and in the end didn’t even show to cause a rise in political ratings.

A society in which the most important values are represented by pluralism, tolerance, solidarity, the fight against discrimination and strengthening democratic institutions, as a guarantee for preserving the stated values, are the rules of the game that we have set for ourselves

European integration was a signpost for us, and not an excuse for reforms and changes that had to be made. We have ourselves built healthy foundations for future membership in the European Union. The new Government has the task of continuing to build an even stronger and more compact structure on such foundations. That’s also why we have opted to form the Ministry of European Integration. The previous structure, which had different institutions dealing with European integration, was sufficient for the period until the opening of negotiations with the EU and the opening of the first negotiation chapters. Now that we have opened 10 chapters and temporarily closed two, it is necessary to unite all institutions and send a clear political message about Serbia’s commitment to the European path, with the continuation and intensification of reforms in the country.

The European Union which we now have the opportunity to negotiate with is changing and probably won’t be the same at the moment when negotiations are concluded. That’s why we also need to change and strengthen the system that will be in a position to respond more quickly and efficiently to today’s challenges. Ahead of us is a complex and long journey in which reality will not tolerate a lack of results. We are reminded and bound to this by the results achieved during the mandate of the government led by Aleksandar Vučić.