The Republic of Serbia opened Chapter 4 at the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels in the accession negotiations with the EU on freedom of movement of capital.
The Serbian delegation to Brussels was led by Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic, and on behalf of the EU, the opening of the chapter was attended by European Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi and the Chairperson of the EU Council, Finnish Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen.
Serbia currently has 18 opened accession chapters, two of which have been provisionally closed.
Chapter 4 of the EU membership talks opening this year is the second in a row since Chapter 9 on financial services opened in June.
Joksimovic said at a press conference after the opening of the chapter that today is an important day for Serbia’s European path.
We have opened 18 chapters in our accession negotiations, 18 out of 35 which means that we have more than half opened, Joksimovic added, emphasising that this is not a goal in itself, but closing the chapters and achieving the standards that have been promised to citizens and set as a goal.
She pointed out that the fact that Serbia passed half of the way in opening chapters has its significance.
This certainly shows that Serbia did not get stuck and, despite the atmosphere that has not favoured enlargement policy lately, that policy persists. It has its ups and downs, but with this opening of the chapter, we show that enlargement policy is alive, she said.
The Minister for European Integration pointed out that this chapter proves that, in addition to successful economic reforms, Serbia has made some progress in the area of the rule of law.
I think that based on what we have done in the area of the rule of law, more chapters could have been opened, but we are known as a candidate country that does not complain, which does not seek any concessions, but only a fair approach, and it will stay so in the future, Joksimovic said.
EU Council Chairperson who is also Minister for European Affairs of Finland Tytti Tuppurainen said that the opening of a new chapter with Serbia is a positive signal for the entire Western Balkans region.
She urged Serbia to continue its reform processes especially in the area of the rule of law and fundamental rights.
It is crucial for Serbia to show a stronger political commitment to the reform of the rule of law. Another important issue is the normalisation of relations with Kosovo, she said.
Tuppurainen stated that the EU will continue to work closely with Serbia to achieve further results on the European path, adding that they bring benefits to both parties in the process.