EU accession: 12 chapters to be opened by June

The Committee on EU Enlargement (COELA) is supposed to meet in Brussels next week. At the meeting, Croatia is officially going to withdraw its complaints regarding the opening of Chapter 26 (education and culture) in Serbia’s negotiations with the EU.

At the meeting, the approval of opening of two more chapters – 20 (entrepreneurship and industrial policy) and 29 (customs union) – is supposed to be given to Serbia. Also, a decision will be made at the meeting whether the next intergovernmental conference of Serbia and the EU is going to take place on 20th January, as agreed earlier by the top EU officials.

Brussels had also agreed that there were no additional prerequisites that Serbia had to fulfill regarding the opening of the aforementioned chapters, and invited Serbia to prepare its negotiating positions. During Malta’s presidency, Belgrade could open up to 12 chapters by June including chapters 2 (free flow of workforce), 4 (free flow of capital), 6 (company law), 9 (financial services), and 28 (healthcare and consumer protection).

If this happens, Serbia will fulfill its plan to open all 34 negotiation chapters by 2018 and even close some of them before the official deadline.

In this process, Serbia is counting on the support of influential European countries, particularly on Germany, France, Italy and Spain, while our neighbours, like Croatia, could hinder the process and use it to tackle certain unresolved bilateral issues with Serbia.

The European Parliament Rapporteur, David McAllister is due to submit his regular report about Serbia’s accession process in January. In the draft report, McAllister strongly commends Serbia on the account of the implemented reforms, particularly the economic ones, and insists on better implementation of the rule of law.

(Vecernje Novosti, 03.01.2017)

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