Olivér Várhely: Serbia interested in new EU enlargement methodology

Olivér Várhely: Serbia interested in new EU enlargement methodology

Olivér Várhely: Serbia interested in new EU enlargement methodology Izvor: AFP/John Thys

The European Commissioner for Enlargement Olivér Várhely said on Tuesday he was convinced there was a possibility that Serbia might decide to accept the new negotiating methodology with the European Union, adding that President Aleksandar Vucic “has already shown interest,” Radio Free Europe (RFE) reported.

 “The new methodology may be faster, and that’s why we see the enthusiasm on Serbia’s side,” Várhely told a conference on the reform of the enlargement policy organised by the European Policy Centre in Brussels.  

He described the new methodology as “just” for both the countries that should open the accession talks and those which were already in the process.

Commenting on the situation with the rule of law in Serbia, the Commissioner said that “there are some flaws which the EU does not neglect, but deals with them in cooperation with Serbia’s authorities.”    

He added that the current negotiating framework with Serbia left enough possibilities to react to such problems.        

"So far we haven’t had to do that, and I hope we won’t in future either. But if there are problems, rest assured that we will react as we would do with any country which is negotiating the membership,” Várhely told RFE.

Explaining the announced EU economic package prepared for the Zagreb Summit in May, he said it aimed at reducing the differences between the bloc and regional economies, since, according to him, that was the biggest problem, “the roots of all other problems.”    

“The sooner we close that gap and create sustainable economies, the faster those countries will join the EU,” Várhely said.

He added that that investment plan is the so-called ‘the third pillar,’ in the new enlargement policy toward the Western Balkans. The first one, he says, is the new methodology and the second one is the opening of the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.        

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