Commissioner Johannes Hahn described the opening of and the progress made in those two chapters is key to Serbia’s further structural reform and economic growth. “Current growth is good, structural reform is yielding results, but more effort is needed to maintain them both,” the European Commissioner said.
Chapter 17 requirements include budget drafting and reform planning in a transparent manner in consultation with the EU, he added.
“Budgetary transparency, legal certainty and vigorous reform implementation will bring about long-term growth and job creation,” Hahn said, noting that “structural reform should be followed by good statistical data.”
Hahn said that Serbian statistical databases are among the most comprehensive in the region, adding that more effort is needed in reporting on macroeconomic indicators and the structure of economy.
“Quality comes before speed,” Hahn said, adding that the rule of law reform is at the heart of the enlargement policy and that it remains unnegotiable.
“Serbia just came a step closer to the EU,” Hahn pointed out.
Joksimovic: We could have done better, but we are not unhappy
Minster of European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic said that the opened chapters confirm Serbia’s economic success.
“As far as chapter 18 is concerned, we want to introduce new research in our statistical system, to measure and see where we stand with regards to the quality of life of citizens, sustainable development goals, etc. We want to paint a realistic picture of where we stand with regards to EU standards,” she said.
“If you ask me whether we are satisfied, I believe we could have opened more chapters. I believe we had substantial results in the area of rule of law. We are not unhappy because we strive to be patient and resolved in our bid to become a member of the EU,” the Minister said, adding that Serbia will continue to pursue that path.
The Minister noted that Serbia is extremely concerned over Pristina’s actions. “I asked our EU friends and partners to help us. We care about principles.”
“I want to assure our European partners that Serbia is a reliable partner, committed to long-term peace and security in the region, based on respect for key principles,” Joksimovic said.