We need to see tangible progress in fields like judicial reform, media freedom and the fight against corruption and organised crime. The fact that the Government of Serbia seems to have stepped up its efforts in this context is to be welcomed.
Serbia should become a member of the EU as soon as it is ready and has fulfilled the conditions for membership – this has been Germany’s position since the beginning of EU accession negotiations with Serbia. Germany is helping Serbia on its EU accession path, primarily through development cooperation, while Serbia needs to do its part. The steps towards full membership are clear: Serbia needs to adopt the complete legal framework of the EU, the so-called acquis communautaire. This ultimately means fully aligning itself with the foreign policy positions of the EU and overcoming unresolved disputes with its neighbours, i.e. with Kosovo.
Since the democratic changes of 2000, the German Government has allocated more than two billion euros to support Serbia on its path to EU membership
While some parts of the acquis are rather technical in nature, others touch on core principles of the EU, i.e. those related to the rule of law. Serbia needs to achieve substantial progress in these areas, in accordance with the action plans of the Serbian Government. Tangible progress in fields like judicial reform, media freedom and the fight against corruption and organised crime will lead to the opening of chapters or, under the new enlargement methodology, clusters of chapters. The fact that the Government of Serbia seems to have stepped up its efforts in this context is to be welcomed.
The overarching goal of German-Serbian development cooperation is indeed to support Serbia on its path towards EU membership. Since the democratic changes of 2000, the German Government has allocated more than two billion euros to Serbia through projects run by GIZ or KfW. In the coming years, these organisations will focus on job creation, in particular for young people, the implementation of the Green Agenda, by expanding renewable energy sources and fostering decarbonisation, and of course the provision of expertise in the area of the rule of law.