The European Union has approved the opening of two more chapters in Serbia’s pre-accession negotiations at an inter-governmental conference on December 10, Radio Free Europe reported on Wednesday.
Representatives of EU member states reached agreement on the opening of Chapter 17 (economic and monetary policy) and Chapter 18 (statistics), RFE said and added that the Serbian authorities were expecting to open at least three chapters.
The station said that serious consideration had been given to refusing to open any chapter because of Serbia’ lack of progress on the rule of law.
According to a European Commission internal report which was handed to EU member states last month, the country showed insufficient or no progress in key areas.
Radio Free Europe’s unnamed diplomatic sources confirmed that the member states changed their views following the heightened tensions between Pristina and Belgrade in the belief that the opening of new chapters could serve as “moral compensation for the blow Serbia suffered with the introduction of high tariffs by Kosovo”.
The diplomatic sources said that most EU member states believe that the opening of new chapters would contribute to the possible success of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
Serbia’s Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic confirmed that two chapters would be opened at the inter-governmental conference in Brussels on December 10, adding that she is neither unhappy nor satisfied with just two chapters.
She said Belgrade told Brussels that it had prepared seven chapters which have gone through the required procedures in Serbia and the European Commission. According to Joksimovic, the decision to open just two chapters was taken because of the pre-election atmosphere in the European Union and the low level of interest in expansion.