In four years of negotiations, Serbia has opened 14 out of 35 chapters in the process of accession to the European Union. Among them is the chapter 35, one of the most complex chapters that talks about the relations with Pristina.
However, there are still no news regarding the opening of the chapter 31, which, although not as as complex as the chapter 35, is still difficult and it pertains to the harmonization of Serbian foreign policy with the European Union’s one.
For now, the EU is still not criticizing Serbia for not opening the chapter 31, maybe as a compensation for Serbia’s ongoing negotiations with Pristina.
“So, we are now halfway there, and it remains when is this chapter going to be opened,” said Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic.
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Dacic cannot give a timeframe for opening of this chapter, and “halfway” does not sound like “soon”, since, according to the sources from the European Western Balkans website, this chapter has been put on hold for political reasons.
He says N1 Ivica Dačić, but without an assessment of which time frame it is. This “half way” certainly does not mean “soon” because, according to the knowledge of the European Western Balkans portal, “on hold” for political reasons.
Based on unofficial information from sources in Brussels, the screening report for chapter 31 has been pushed aside by a powerful EU member state, which feels that there is no need to pressure Serbia over chapter 31 before the end of the dialogue with Pristina,” the website reports.
Belgrade media have reported that recently Lithuania has blocked the opening of Chapter 31 because of Serbia’s support for Russia, which the official Vilnius has officially denied.
Nikola Burazer from the European Western Balkans website says that the member state in question could be Germany or some other country that feels that the Kosovo issue is much more important now and that pressuring Serbia over the chapter could be counterproductive.
That view is shared by Foreign Minister Dacic who thinks that the EU is not keeping anything hidden but is waiting a deal between Belgrade and Pristina. He also believes that the introduction of sanctions against Russia in line with EU foreign policy would be a political suicide.
It is interesting to note that Serbia’s foreign policy was almost 100 percent harmonized with the EU foreign policy until the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Since then, every year, the percent of compliance has fallen and it currently stands at 49.