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FROM THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNMENT COORDINATION BODY COUNCIL FOR EU ACCESSION PROCESS

14. July 2015. |

At the meeting held by the Government Coordination Body Council for EU Accession Process in Belgrade today, there were talks about the current state of membership negotiations with the EU, the implementation of the National Programme for the Adoption of the EU Acquis (NPAA), and the status of IPA programming and implementation. Coordinating communication activities during the accession process was particularly discussed, as well as the reform of state administration in the process of European integration, taking into account the challenges of the current fiscal consolidation.

The meeting was chaired by the Serbian Minister without portfolio responsible for EU integration, Jadranka Joksimović, who stressed that it was a matter of time before the negotiation chapters were opened. She pointed out that the EU and Member States commended Serbia for the work done thus far in the EU integration process and in the field of reform implementation, particularly in the implementation of economic reforms."Both the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel, confirmed that Serbia had their support to continue down the path of building the country's European future. Juncker and Merkel remarked that Serbia was doing a good job and that the Government was seriously dealing with the reform agenda and EU integration. Serbia has been recognized as a serious membership candidate and Government's dedication to country's progress and regional cooperation has placed Serbia among the responsible and reform-oriented candidates", Joksimović noted, briefing the Council members on the outcomes of Merkel's visit and the meeting held with the President of EC. She added that, after the successfully implemented screening process, the efforts were currently devoted to fulfilling the opening benchmarks for Negotiation Chapters 23 and 24, as well as to the progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

Chief Negotiator for Serbia’s accession negotiations with the EU, Tanja Miščević, informed the Council about the preparations for the next stage of negotiations following the completion of the screening process. She highlighted that Serbia was maintaining the pace in adopting screening reports for certain number of chapters, and that work on negotiating positions had begun, as well as regarding the obligations for meeting the opening benchmarks thereof, as applicable. In addition, she announced that the completion and the presentation of action plans for Chapters 23 and 24 were due this month so as to be able to commence their ratification procedure in the EU after the summer break.

The major issues concerning the forthcoming, regular review of the National Programme for the Adoption of the EU Acquis were also discussed at the meeting. It was concluded that following the completion of the screening process, in the action plan preparation phase aimed at meeting the opening benchmarks for certain chapters and preparation of negotiating positions, it would be suitable to draft the National Programme containing precise plans for aligning the national legal framework with the EU acquis through the forthcoming review and fulfilling the criteria for the implementation and application thereof. It was scheduled that the application of such revised NPAA would start on 1 January 2016 and would cover the period of 3 years, ending on 31 December 2018. In the forthcoming period, the implementation of the NPAA shall constitute one of the key factors in relations with the EU for monitoring the progress the Republic of Serbia has made in the accession process.

The Council also concluded that it was necessary to align the priorities financed from IPA 2016 with the negotiation process itself, primarily with the recommendations derived from the screening process and major action plan activities for opening individual chapters. It was stressed that state institutions should plan the capacities necessary for effective implementation of IPA funded projects in due course.

Bearing in mind that one of the Council's tasks is to direct communication activities at familiarizing the citizens of Serbia with the EU integration process, and based on the conclusion reached at the previous Council meeting, the first draft of the Government Communication Strategy implementation action plan regarding IPA has been prepared. This draft includes the activities taking place in the period from September 2015 until the end of 2016, that shall contribute to citizens being better informed about the development assistance from the EU, primarily the IPA funds. The plan is scheduled to be prepared after comprehensive consultations with the representatives of responsible ministries and the EU Delegation in Serbia.

Belgrade, 10 July 2015.

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