July 18, 2016
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said 18 July could be celebrated as the day when Serbia opened two key chapters in its negotiations with the EU. He added that there is a chance for opening four additional chapters by the end of the year.
“Serbian Government done big work and showed that it assumed the obligation to undertake credible reforms aimed at modernising Serbia for the benefit of its citizens”, said Hahn at the press conference following the EU-Serbia Intergovernmental Conference.
“The implementation of these ambitious reforms is now on our focus”, said Hahn, reminding that the noramalization in the relation between Serbia and Kosovo and implementation of reforms in the area of rule of law is the advance step for Serbia on the EU integration path.
Hahn also said that Serbia has its own place in the European family, despite hard times and the crisis in the EU.
Miroslav Lajcak, Foreign Minister of Slovakia, the country chairing the EU Council, said the EU opened two key chapters with Serbia, whereas Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic noted that it showed Serbia’s strategic path and demonstrated its commitment and dedication to fulfil all the tasks on it.
“This is a major breakthrough in negotiations with Serbia and we encourage it to stay the course”, Lajcak said.
He stressed that his country set the priority of EU enlargement high on its presidency agenda. He added that Slovak presidency is committed to maintaining the credibility of the process and noted that opening of two important chapters with Serbia sent a strong message and signal to all the Western Balkans countries.
Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said that was a big day for Serbia and its citizens and thanked his European friends Miroslav Lajcak, Johannes Hahn and “other EU friends for supporting Serbia’s EU path”.
“We are aware that we will have difficulties and obstacles on that path, especially in the implementation of these two important chapters, but we determined to fulfil the expectations and deliver the results”, Vucic said.
He added that the rule of law will be a major incentive for foreign investment.
“Serbia has one of the highest rate of economic growth in Europe and I believe this trend would continue in future. We look forward to further cooperation with the EU and we will be dedicated to this process and path, even though we are aware of all the obstacles and know it is not easy one”, Vucic said.