Another “cold shower” comes from the French President, Emmanuel Macron, a fierce opponent of EU enlargement, who repeated that he would not agree to the EU admitting new members, thus practically shattering the dream of Serbia joining the EU by 2025.
According to quite a few EU officials, the EU’s enlargement, to include the Western Balkan countries, has already slowed down so much, with President Macron bringing the enlargement almost to a stop by saying that “the EU first needs to implement reforms and then think about admitting new members”.
Macron used the failure of European leaders to agree on Monday on who will lead the key EU institutions in the future, as yet another argument against the enlargement, saying that the 28 EU countries could not agree among themselves, let alone admit new members.
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The Serbian Minister for European Integration, Jadranka Joksimovic says that the French President’s stance is not new and adds: “I believe that his visit to Serbia will be significant in that he will also hear the views and reflections of a country that is the leading membership candidate. I expect that other EU members will be encouraged to raise their voice for a sustainable and credible enlargement policy that can take place alongside the process of internal EU reforms. We believe that, in the coming years, the EU will solve some of its functional internal issues, and that our reform pace will be accompanied by progress in the accession process. Whether we are going to join the EU in 2025 or some years later, is not the key issue. I believe it is achievable.”
However, the Secretary-General of the European Movement in Serbia, Suzana Grubješić, thinks that Serbia joining the EU seems increasingly less realistic: “It seems that whenever the EU shows some of its shortcomings, such as the inability to reach agreement on five key positions in Brussels, Macron declares the countries that have not even joined the Union as the perpetrators. However, his presidential term ends in 2022, and by then, no candidate country will be ready for accession.”
In order for Serbia to join the EU in six years, we would have to open and close all 35 chapters by 2023 (currently less than half are open, and two are temporarily closed). After that, the agreement on our accession must be ratified by all 28 members, while in some EU countries a referendum is needed.
(Vecernje Novosti, 02.07.2019)
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