RFE: Doubts looming over new chapters in Belgrade - EU talks

RFE: Doubts looming over new chapters in Belgrade - EU talks

RFE: Doubts looming over new chapters in Belgrade - EU talks Izvor: N1

Following the European Commission (EC) internal document on Serbia which has said the country has failed to progress in the central area related to the chapters 23 and 24, there is a possibility that Belgrade won’t open any new topic by the end of the year, the Radio Free Europe (RFE) reported on Friday.

The chapters 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (justice, freedom and security) are considered the key in the accession talks, and the failure to meet their criteria made some EU member states to consider whether to support the opening of any new chapter.

However, the RFE said, there was still enough time for the EC record to change but did not elaborate.

The RFE sources told the radio in October that during an intergovernmental conference planned for December 10, Belgrade and Brussels were supposed to open three new chapters – finances, economic and monetary policies and statistics. Now the same sources said the conference would probably not take place.

The RFE has learned that during the debate on the EC document, at least seven EU member states expressed doubts regarding the results. Their main concern about Serbia included the lack of independent judiciary, existing level of corruption, lack of media freedom and attitude toward war crimes.

Those countries believe Serbia has to show visible results related to the chapters 23 and 24 to be able to open new topics.

Besides, the diplomats “were not happy” with progress in the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on normalisation of relations.

The EC report is currently being studied in the EU member states’ capitals, while the Union’s diplomats will have a final word on the opening of new chapters at the beginning of December.

If there weren’t a green light, it would be the first time that Serbia missed a cycle of opening new chapters since the first ones were opened in December 2015.

So far Belgrade has opened 14 out of 35 chapters and closed two.

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