In its negotiations with the European Union, Serbia can open one chapter by the end of the year – Chapter 8, on competition policy, European Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said in the evening on Oct. 6 in Brussels. He also noted that respect for the rule of law will be at the core of the new negotiation strategy accepted by Serbia.
Commissioner Varhelyi said this while explaining the annual reports and the economic package for the Western Balkans at a session of the European Parliament’s Foreign Policy Board, replying to a question by an MP whether major objections by some groups in the EP regarding the state of the rule of law and democracy in Serbia could hinder the country’s progress toward EU membership.
During the debate Varhelyi dismissed the stance that the issue of Kosovo is a “frozen conflict,” stating that the EU does not see the Belgrade-Pristina relations as such, but, to the contrary, as a “dialogue directed at a lasting, peaceful solution,” and that he is a witness to Serbia and Kosovo’s full dedication [to this goal], in which they should be assisted.
“I myself am personally committed to that,” Varhelyi said and added that work is underway “to find many elements that will stimulate the process within the EU economic plan, because the best way for overcoming difficulties is to convince the people living there that they can go forward despite terrible things from the past.”