News

27. May 2020

To what extent is the new EU enlargement methodology applicable to Serbia?

Two months after the adoption of the EU enlargement methodology, it is unclear how it would adapt to countries already in the process of membership negotiations The European Movement of Serbia says that grouping the existing chapters into six clusters is inapplicable from the point of view of Serbia. The Vice President of the European Movement in Serbia, Vladimir Medjak, in the analysis of "European Western Balkans", which deals with how the new methodology of EU enlargement would be applied to Serbia, explains that the reason why most of the essential change is not applicable to Serbia is because we have already opened 18 chapters, located in different clusters and submitted negotiating positions for five more chapters. "Clustering envisages that all chapters in a certain cluster are opened at once, that is, that the state fulfills everything necessary to open all chapters and submits a negotiating position," Medjak said. What remains the same is closing the chapters individually, and Medjak, however, states that it would be problematic for Serbia if the new principle was applied that a candidate country for EU membership cannot close any other chapters until it meets the transitional criteria in the chapters 23 and 24, with which the state is already three years behind schedule. Under the current circumstances, as he states, every EU country can take the position that Serbia is not ready to close the chapter until it meets the transitional criteria. Medjak says that the lack of political leadership on both sides is the biggest flaw of negotiation process so far, that there is a problem of trust, and that the focus is also on clearer communication. As he said, the Zagreb Declaration also states that trust must be established, because it is obvious that there is no trust primarily in the countries of the Western Balkans that have aspired to join the EU, but also no trust on our part that the EU is sincere on that path. "It is stated in the declaration and in the new methodology that communication is very important, which should be interpreted together," Medjak stated. He mentioned that in accordance with that, the new methodology envisages that every year, after the adoption of the annual report of the European Commission, a special intergovernmental conference is organized to see what has been done, where problems have arisen, and in order to design a plan for next year. "That report would be discussed at the highest level, the intergovernmental conference, which is now being held only to open and close negotiation chapters," the vice president of the European Movement in Serbia said. The new methodology implies that after the cluster, i.e. all chapters from one cluster are closed, the candidate country in that area would start functioning as an EU member and would enter the EU structure, start going to meetings and participating in EU policies, so Medjak points out that it would be very good for Serbia, which now has four chapters that could be closed very soon - 6, 7, 13 and 20. He believes that accepting the new methodology is good for Serbia and should not mean slowing down or taking Serbia backward, as well as clarifying with the EU what the implementation of the new methodology would look like and get the best out of it - primarily, it calls for political engagement of both sides. At: https://www.b92.net/

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