The European Union ministers agreed on Tuesday that Serbia had made some progress but did not support the opening of new clusters in its accession talks with the bloc.
The ministers added the country still had a lot to do.
„Many ministers agreed there has been some progress in Serbia, which was positive. But there were some interventions about steps Serbia has to take to open another cluster. Primarily regarding the Constitutional changes that will be voted on by the end of this month. But, we’ll see. The general atmosphere is positive, and there is a support,“ Anze Logar, the Foreign Minister of Slovenia, currently the EU presiding country.
In January, France takes over.
The Commissioner for Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, attended the Council’s meeting on the enlargement and passed on the support of the European Commission (EC) for the opening of new clusters with Serbia. Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders echoed the message at a news conference.
In October, the EC proposed opening Cluster 3 (Competitiveness and Growth) and Cluster 4 (Green Agenda and Sustainability). However, the process is still ongoing and is currently being addressed by Council working groups.
A final decision could be made as early as next week.
Serbia is expected to open at least one cluster at an intergovernmental conference scheduled for mid-December.
Belgrade’s authorities were optimistic, hoping to open at least one, if not two clusters, following the latest EC report on Serbia’s progress which they described as „the best si far.“
Some MEPs criticised the report for being too soft on Belgrade, primarily about the reforms in the rule of law, media freedom and some environmentalist issues.