Jadranka Joksimović: We are not Russian Trojan horse in Europe

28. July 2017. | Belgrade

Jadranka Joksimović: We are not Russian Trojan horse in Europe

Jadranka Joksimović, Minister of European Integration, speaks for Novosti about relations with Brussels and Kremlin, conditionalities, integration...

A long-standing path towards membership in the European Union is ahead of us, upon which we will often rely on the EU's assistance and support for external and security challenges, just as we have a very significant support from Russia with regard to certain issues. We are Serbs, we are not "little Russians", nor are we a ‘Trojan horse’ for Russian interests in the EU. However, we do respect the support and attitude towards our interests that the Russian Federation has shown and we do not hide it, which is why we have not imposed sanctions on them.

This is what Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović said for Novosti, answering the question about when she expects the opening of Negotiation Chapter 31 on foreign policy and whether the request to impose sanctions on Russia awaits us as the first task.

- The decision on the opening of Chapter 31 is made by consensus of the EU Member States, and it is certain that it will not happen this year, but Serbia understands the messages that are important to certain Member States. This chapter should be treated in the same way as was the case for other candidates. After all, you can see for yourself that the circumstances have become more complicated, which leads to a shift in relations of global powers.

* Will Serbia encounter the resistance of the Baltic countries, since Lithuania is in favour of "re-examining" the enlargement policy because "a certain country is negotiating on membership while participating in military exercises with Russia" ...

- We understand that certain countries, especially the Baltic ones, have a different attitude towards Russia than we do, in the context of their own view of the near and distant past. I also think that there is a certain understanding with a large number of Member States of the reasons for our different policy. Be that as it may, we have had incomparably more military exercises with the EU countries and with the NATO.

* Has someone defined a period for you in which Serbia could enter the EU?

- The statement of President of the European Council Donald Tusk, that the door will be open for us when we are fully prepared, is encouraging. This is a legitimate answer, because it means that enlargement is not a completed policy, although many want to present things in that way. The EU countries also benefit from new Member States, as this is not a one-sided process where only a new member profits.

* A quarter of respondents in your ministry's survey say that Serbia's accession to the EU is slowed down by a policy of continuous blackmailing...

- Nobody forces us and we do not have to do anything, unless that's our choice. I do not think that the policy "we will not do anything, we will not go anywhere, we will not side with anyone," would do us any good, bearing in mind that Serbia is surrounded by EU Member States and those who want to become one, especially due to the economic importance of the EU for us.

 

I DO NOT FIND MYSELF IN VUČIĆ'S CRITICISM

* Have you felt the words of the Serbian President, that only a few of those from the Serbian Progressive Party publicly took a stance to protect him against the attacks in some tabloids, as criticism on your account as well?

- No. The attacks on the President of this type are the reflection of the twisted awareness of what criticism and the freedom of the media mean. Many from the world of media will require time to learn professional ethics, responsibility for a publicly spoken word, and the obligations of transparent and responsible business. For that, European standards are the best medicine.

Source: Večernje novosti

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