At the presentation of European Commission’s Report on Serbia, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport said the Report showed EU’s commitment to enlargement process and Serbia’s accession, adding that he is optimistic that new chapters will be opened by the end of 2016.
Davenport reminded that the EU already made a recommendation to open chapter 5 (public procurement), adding that the recommendation was subject to discussion among Member States.
“We are optimistic about the possibility of opening new chapters by the end of the year. I hope we will make the most of the momentum and the dynamics,” Davenport said at the press conference.
Also, the Commission has completed the screening process for another 15 chapters and asked Serbian Government to present its negotiating position for the remaining chapters so that the Member States could adopt their own.
Davenport said that chapter 23 action plan envisaged steps necessary to achieve greater independence of judiciary. To do so, he said, it is necessary to develop a common approach to the issue of constitutional amendments.
“It has been agreed to accept recommendations made by the European Commission and the Council of Europe concerning the independence of judiciary,” Head of the EU Delegation said.
Davenport said that making amendments to the Constitution was a challenging process and expressed hope that the actions set out in the action plan would soon be taken.
He added that the rule of law and justice reform directly affected the business environment and thus the overall progress of Serbia.
When it comes to economic reform, Davenport said the results achieved were better than expected, that the economic growth was stronger and foreign investment higher, all of which reflected a more favourable business environment.
EU Ambassador said Serbia played a significant, active and constructive role in the region in its efforts to maintain the stability which “will be important in the coming period”.
When it comes to implementation of media laws adopted two years ago, the Report highlighted shortcomings in practice, above all regarding the privatisation of media at both national and local level, as well as the shortcomings regarding the funding of media programmes.
“Those issues clearly need to be addressed,” Davenport said and added that more work should be done on new media strategy.