Wednesday, May 31, 2023
HomeEurope NewsBoth parties feel comfortable stagnation –

Both parties feel comfortable stagnation –

The lack of progress in Serbia’s EU integration process seems to be a solution that is suitable for the EU. The EU is becoming more and more critical of Belgrade’s authoritarian trend and the lack of progress in Kosovo, while the Belgrade ruling group has not seen the EU BETA agency writes that the relationship It is equally important to its voters.

BETA News Agency is a Serbian news agency headquartered in Belgrade, in cooperation with EURACTIV.

As far as the European integration process is concerned, Serbia has not yet made any progress, because the EU has decided not to open a single negotiation cluster for Serbia during the six-month term.

Belgrade stated that it was neither surprised nor disappointed, because together with the refusal it proposed to hold another intergovernmental meeting with the EU-a consolation prize and an indication that refusal may not be an absolute sign.

However, the accession negotiations have reached a deadlock, and some may even say that they have stopped completely. Serbia has made little progress in its accession to the WTO in the past two and a half years. Two of the 35 chapters have been opened, both in 2019. Last year Serbia did not open any chapters, and for the first time it did not have more success than half of 2021.

So far, the European Union has opened 18 chapters for Serbia, and two of the 35 chapters have been initially closed. The process started in January 2014, and only half of the EU membership chapter opened within seven years is a very bad result, reflecting the very slow pace of Serbia’s accession to the EU.

The Belgrade authorities have accepted a new method of expansion introduced under the initiative of France. The chapters of the acquisition agreement are divided into six clusters, each of which requires separate negotiation.

When the new rules came into effect, Serbian President Alexander Vucic stated in a meeting with the French president in July 2020 that Serbia had decided to accept the new rules, believing that they were “better and more targeted for Serbia”. However, Serbia is missing the opportunity to use them.

According to the recommendations of the European Commission, the plan is for the EU to open two negotiation clusters-the third, competitiveness and inclusive growth, and the fourth, green agenda and sustainable connectivity.

Nevertheless, EU members still have differences, and most people refuse to give Serbia the green light for these two clusters. A group of EU countries led by Germany opposes it, while other countries including France are in favor of opening up.

The main reason for rejection lies in two aspects. First, some apparently majority EU countries believe that Serbia has made no progress in the areas of fundamental rights and freedoms covered by Chapters 23 and 24, namely justice, fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security.

Serbia has opened these two chapters, as well as the clusters they are in, but since this is a critical set of issues, compliance with the standards will be monitored throughout the negotiation process, and the behavior of candidates in these contexts will be correct. All other clusters are affected until the end of the process.

For a long time, Serbia has been criticized by the European Union for ignoring fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. The periodic progress reports of its institutions (first the European Commission) clearly show this.

The Commission was very critical of Serbia in its report last year, as was the European Parliament’s report issued in March last year.

Most criticisms are directed at the ruling party’s absolute domination of state institutions, the ruling coalition’s abuse of dominance, political pressure, lack of media pluralism and freedom of speech, but corruption is widespread, and organized struggles are ineffective. The crime rate is at the top of the opposition list.

In short, the decision not to establish a single negotiating cluster with Serbia is the culmination of a series of warnings that Serbia has failed to respond well to deficiencies in the work of democratic institutions (elections, parliaments, media, etc.). , And the degree of corruption.

Another important reason for the EU’s refusal to open new clusters is that it wants to wait until Serbia’s constitutional reform ends, because it specifically targets the part of the constitution that involves the election of justice, judges, and prosecutors.

The procedure has been submitted to Parliament for deliberation, and a referendum is expected to be held next fall, allowing the people to have the final decision on this matter. The constitutional amendment in the judicial field is an unfinished work that has been delayed by Serbia for many years.

The Belgrade authorities were not particularly disappointed at the EU’s refusal to lift the obstacles to the negotiation process, and their response to it was rather indifferent. Serbian Minister Jadranka Joksimovic, who is responsible for the country’s accession to the European Union, said the cabinet was not surprised.

The Minister emphasized that the decision to schedule a new EU-Serbia intergovernmental meeting on June 22 is a sign that the EU fully supports Serbia’s accession.

The reason for the lacklustre response is that Serbia’s EU membership is not so important to voters in the ruling group, and the country’s success or failure on the road to Europe has no impact on their views.

Formally speaking, joining the European Union is the government’s priority and the president’s greatest concern, but they know very well that decisions made in the process will not generate votes or damage their ratings.

In addition, Belgrade explained that it is not only the unprepared Serbia to blame, but also the European Union, because it hesitates to apply the new expansion model before ensuring that candidates make enough progress.

This is correct to a certain extent, because Albania and North Macedonia are still waiting to be included in the negotiation process under the new model. However, caution is good for the alliance, because once the rules are fully implemented, it will be difficult to change the rules.

The stagnation of negotiations with Serbia is the result of political decisions, and of course it has to do with the slow normalization negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo. The breakthrough in this process is the main political condition for Serbia to promote its accession to the EU, but it has not yet been realized.

The EU-mediated negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina have been deadlocked for more than two years, and the move to restart the negotiations coincides with Europe’s decision on whether to open up new clusters for Serbia.

Obviously, before deciding on the Kosovo process, most coalitions want to see progress in the Kosovo process.

Source link


Most Popular

Recent Comments