VIENNA, 14 DECEMBER 2015 - Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels sets stage for EU accession negotiations with Serbia on 14 December 2015.
The formal start of Serbia’s accession negotiations took place in January 2014. Since then Serbia has introduced a comprehensive reform process providing for a normalisation policy with Pristina, measures to improve competitiveness and a rehabilitation of the state budget. Serbia has also taken positive measures in the regional context, like e.g. establishing a regional youth exchange programme, which was presented at the Western Balkans Summit in Vienna in August 2015. The freshly opened chapters 32 and 35 (Financial Control and Other, Relations with Kosovo) are the first of the Acquis chapters to be negotiated. Further chapters will be opened in the first half of 2016 in the form of the rule of law chapters 23 and 24.
Further themes of December’s Foreign Affairs Council Meeting were the Eastern Partnership, the fight against terrorism, Libya, in attendance of the new UN-Special Representative Martin Kobler, as well as the situation in Iraq. The discussion with the Turkish Minister for Foreign AffairsMevlüt Çavuşoğlu not only welcomed the intensification of cooperation with Turkey in a number of different areas, but also underlined the importance of Turkey as a partner of Europe taking up a key role in the stabilisation of the region. An inclusive process, supported by all countries and interest groups is of the essence. Talks concerning the Eastern Partnership underscored that there can be no “either/or” for the Eastern Partners in their relations with the EU and Russia. The approach has to be “as well as”.