Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia Sem Fabrizi handed to Prime Minister Ana Brnabić the Annual Report of the European Commission on the Republic of Serbia
She voiced hope that the estimates of Serbia’s progress will be based on facts, rather than on the political views of some parties.
“We will continue to implement the recommendations of the European Commission and pay attention to the essence, not the form, Brnabić said and criticised the EU for using double standards on the issue of Kosovo-Metohija.”
She said she is worried about the situation in Kosovo-Metohija and the constant and increasingly frequent incidents.
“I am concerned about the lack of a concrete response from the EU to everything that is happening. First of all, today is 2,226 days since the signing of the Brussels Agreement and the obligation to form the Community of Serb Municipalities. Brussels is the guarantor of this agreement, and the EU has guaranteed its implementation,” the Prime Minister explained.
She said that the Report on the progress states that Pristina “has yet to engage in the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities” and underlined that this shows double standards.
“I am also concerned about the lack of reaction to the incidents that happened yesterday, and to the fact that since 6 November Pristina does not only violate the CEFTA agreement but also clearly violates the SAA. Brussels has mechanisms to initiate a procedure for violating the SAA. But apart from verbal condemnation, they have not launched these mechanisms,” she underlined.
“If the EU wants the rule of law and insists on it so much, then they should insist on the rule of law in their own actions. They should guarantee the application of the Brussels Agreement and the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities and they should respect the SAA agreement. This agreement stipulates mechanisms for cases when the agreement is violated and they should apply them,” Brnabić said and underlined that Serbia is continuing its European path.
Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi said that the Report noted progress in some areas, but that Serbia must be more determined and step up its efforts in some major areas, such as the strengthening of democratic institutions and the rule of law.
“There is progress in some areas, but Serbia needs to be more resolute. A large part of the report speaks of encouraging the provision of inter-party dialogue in order for parliament to exercise oversight function. There is no progress in the field of freedom of expression. A media strategy was adopted in a procedure that was inclusive and transparent, but the European Commission did not have the time to comment on that document, ” explained the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia.
He said that areas in which reforms should be strengthened are the judiciary and the fight against corruption and crime and the realisation of basic rights.
He highlighted the importance of strengthening democratic institutions such as parliament, in order to ensure inter-party dialogue and the supervisory function of parliament over the executive power.
The report also encouraged the continuation of the fight against corruption, and the new law in that area will be analyzed to determine if it is in line with the norms of the Council of Europe anti-corruption body. Serbia continued to significantly contribute to the consolidation of mixed migrant flows. Positive results are in the economy, the economy grew by 4 per cent on healthy bases. For two years in a row, the budget is in a surplus, the state debt fell to 55 per cent, foreign investment increased by 7.2 per cent, the ambassador said.
“Economic reforms are progressing well, regional co-operation is a powerful engine for the entire Western Balkans to make it closer to the Union. The reforms in the rule of law need to be improved if the balance in the accession process is to be maintained,” the ambassador said, stressing that the question of normalizing the relations between Belgrade and Pristina is crucial for the country’s progress towards the European Union.
“The European Commission and the EU Delegation will remain committed to all partners in the further presentation of this report. The report will be our guide in the upcoming period. We certainly want Serbia to succeed in its reforms,” Ambassador Fabrizi concluded.