EP rapporteur on Serbia calls for opening of negotiating chapters

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The European Parliament’s rapporteur on Serbia, David McAllister, has sent the European Parliament a draft resolution on Serbia calling on the European Council and the European Commission to open policy chapters 32 and 35 in Serbia’s EU entry talks, the Belgrade media reported on Wednesday evening.

The FoNet news agency said the draft resolution welcomed Serbia’s commitment to the European integration process, noting that Serbia had undertaken an ambitious reform agenda and inviting Serbia to continue with social and economic reforms.

Serbia is called on to align its foreign and security policies with the EU’s, including its policy towards Russia, and its participation in international peace operations is welcomed.

The draft resolution notes that certain progress has been made in the judiciary but that the interference of politics remains strong.

The draft resolution welcomes Serbia’s preparations for the efficient beginning of the accession process and comprehensive action plans for Chapter No. 23, which concerns the judiciary and fundamental rights, Chapter 24, which concerns justice, freedom and security, Chapter 32, dealing with financial control, and Chapter 35, as part of which the normalisation of Serbia’ relations with Pristina will be evaluated continually in the course of the negotiating process.

McAllister points in the draft resolution to the importance of negotiations on the policy chapters 23 and 24, to be accompanied by serious reforms regarding the judiciary and fundamental rights, and justice, freedom and security.

The resolution warns that a thorough implementation of laws and policies remains the key indicator of the success of the integration process, and Serbia is called on to improve the planning, coordinating and monitoring of the new legislation.

The document commends the country’s progress in improving the business climate, reduction of the budget deficit, and changes to the labour legislation and employment policy, encouraging the Serbian authorities to continue promoting the business climate and speed up the reorganisation of state-owned companies.

The document underlines the need for Serbia to align its legislation on state aid with EU law.

Serbia is commended for its constructive role in the migrant crisis and its significant efforts to provide people from third countries with shelter and humanitarian aid, with the assistance of the EU and the international community.

McAllister expresses concern about the lack of progress as regards the freedom of expression and the fact that journalists encounter violence and threats in performing their duties and calls on the Serbian authorities to investigate all cases of attacks on journalists and media outlets.

Full application of new media laws is required as is the transparency of the ownership of the media and their financing, reads the draft resolution on Serbia.

(Hina)

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