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“Today is a great and exceptionally significant day for Serbia and its citizens,” Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday in Brussels.
He spoke after the third Serbia-EU Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), which saw the opening of negotiation chapters 23 and 24 in the country’s EU accession talks.
Expressing deep gratitude to Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak and EU Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn, Vucic also thanked “other European friends” who had supported Serbia’s path towards the EU, particularly mentioning Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
“We are aware that we will face difficulties and obstacles, in particular in implementing these two significant chapters, but we are also resolved to meet expectations and deliver results,” Vucic said at a press conference.
“This type of society is what we want and that is the most significant reason why we remain firmly on the path towards the EU,” Vucic said.
All this is directly related to improving the living standards of Serbian citizens, which means that the rule of law and introducing the right laws will greatly encourage foreign investment – the only guarantee of better living standards and higher economic growth, he said.
“Dynamic up to Serbia”
The opening of Chapters 23 and 24 in Serbia’s accession talks is a great moment for the EU and Serbia, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn said Monday, noting that the dynamics of the accession would be defined by Serbia itself.
Speaking to reporters after a Serbia-EU Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the opening of the chapters, he said Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak and his team had contributed to reaching an agreement and taking “the last mile in this regard.”
This is a “well-deserved acknowledgement of Serbia’s progress towards the EU and its path towards it. A lot of work has been achieved and Serbia’s government, administration and civil society representatives have shown a dedicated commitment in preparing a robust credible reform plan towards the modernization of Serbia to the benefit of its citizens,” Hahn said.
The negotiation process with Serbia has a “transformative power”, he said.
“There should not be the slightest doubt about our strong commitment to welcoming Serbia in the EU family, where it belongs,” Hahn said.
“It is up to the candidate countries themselves to define the dynamics of the accession process. There is no speed limit, but quality and substance must be maintained. The overall pace of this process will therefore depend on progress on key areas, including the normalization of Serbia’s relations with Kosovo and implementation of the rule of law reforms,” he said.
“We have opened the chapters, making a significant step forward in bringing Serbia and the EU closer together, and this also means that Serbia will move forward in the enlargement process if it delivers on its homework, Miroslav Lajcak said after the Serbia-EU Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) today.
The enlargement policy “is the most effective tool to promote stability, prosperity and sustainable democratic reforms in the neighborhood of the EU,” Lajcak told a press conference.
Slovakia is a country that has made the process a priority of its EU presidency, which is committed to maintaining the credibility of the process, Lajcak said.