Brnabic: The new European Commission is emanating a new energy in the enlargement process

Brnabic: The new European Commission is emanating a new energy in the enlargement process

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, during the Summit of Central European Countries in Rome, had a chance to meet with the new EU Enlargement Commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi.

The Serbian Prime Minister noted that, during the meeting, the European Commissioner’s visit to Serbia by the end of January was brought up, as well as what Serbia could expect from the new methodology on the EU enlargement and the dynamics of negotiations, which should be different.

Ana Brnabic added that electoral law in Serbia was also discussed, in terms of what is in place today compared to 2012, “what has been done and what is the commitment of both the President and the Serbian government regarding its co-operation with the EU and the European Members of Parliament”.

The prime minister said her talk with Verhelyi included the quotas on steel imports introduced by the EU to all third countries, including Serbia.

“We talked about what policy the new European Commission would be implementing on this issue, which is extremely important. It is important for the economy but, as I said, it also constitutes a political issue that we want to raise before the new European Commission”, Brnabic explained.

She added that Varhelyi promised to discuss the matter with European Commerce Commissioner Phil Hogan, noting that he hopes and expects to travel to Brussels to discuss the matter.

Serbia’s prime minister said that with the new European Commission a new aura came into the EU enlargement discussion, pointing out that this allows Serbia to be hopeful about receiving clearer signals regarding its accession.

Asked whether she was concerned about the fatigue that has been evident on the process of the EU enlargement, Brnabic replied that today’s meeting with European Commissioner Varhelyi was very good and the new positive energy could be felt.

“He confirmed that the new methodology which we can expect can only lead to much faster and clearer conditions, which are also set in countries wishing to become members of the EU. We can also hope for much more predictability and clearer signals for countries such as Serbia – said Brnabic.

She went on to add that the new enlargement methodology proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron would mean that countries in the process of joining the EU would receive more money from the European budget for implementing reforms; in the case of Serbia, which is currently in the middle of negotiations with the EU, the economic indexes depict a stable country that can only contribute to the stability and strength of the EU.

She added that these funds would also be directed towards infrastructure projects, economic development and economic co-operation with the EU.

Brnabic noted that Serbia expects to see that in this new methodology reforms will also be combined with much greater EU funding.

As for the Summit of Central European countries, the Serbian Prime Minister commented it was very important because of Serbia’s regional co-operation with the rest of the EU states which also participate in the initiative, while stressing her clear commitment to promote the EU enlargement agenda.

She also noted that the Union’s decision to not open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia was a historic mistake.

Finally, Brnabic said that, on the occasion of the Summit, she also had excellent bilateral meetings with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the Enlargement Commissioner, as well as Moldovan Prime Minister Ion Chiku. /ibna