Author: Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović

Blog originally published at https://euinfo.rs/plac3/en/blog-en/we-monitor-citizen-needs-through-the-plac-iii-project-the-focus-is-on-food-safety-and-the-environment/

The revised methodology of the European Union enlargement policy which was actively and readily accepted by Serbia and according to which Serbia continued the accession negotiations with its European partners in June, when the EC and the member states at the Intergovernmental Conference in Luxemburg acknowledged the opening of cluster 1 – The Fundamentals, contributed to the double acceleration of the process from our side.

Firstly, the stronger political leadership required by the new approach has resulted in the more intense involvement of the highest political leadership of our country in the European integration affairs, namely the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister.On the other hand, we have altered our negotiation structure and adapted it to the new rules and principles thus making it more efficient, more coordinated and more politically accountable. Managing the Negotiation Coordination, I work with the representatives of state institutions on a daily basis regarding the coordinated acceleration of reforms in all areas important for more dynamic negotiations with the EU.

Since our new structure was adopted, we have reached all the benchmarks for opening clusters 3 and 4 which include 12 chapters in total. I have acquainted the new Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret, at our first meeting with the coordinators of all clusters. We have talked about the reforms in the areas of rule of law, i.e. constitutional reform that we are implementing in order to enable greater independence of judiciary. We also talked about the application of the Media Strategy, human rights protection, migration and asylum…

With regard to reforms, we highly appreciate the EU assistance in adapting our legislative framework to the Union acquis. The PLAC III project includes support in four clusters, i.e. 11 negotiating chapters: cluster 2 – Internal market (chapters 3 – right of establishment and freedom to provide services, 8 – competition policy, 9 – financial services, 28 – consumer and health protection), cluster 3 – Competitiveness and inclusive growth (Chapter 16 – taxation), cluster 4 – Green agenda and sustainable connectivity (chapters: 15 – energy, 27 – environment and climate change) and cluster 5 – Resources, agriculture and cohesion (chapters: 12 – food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy, 13 – fisheries , 33 – financial and budgetary provisions).

The fact that we have jointly decided to receive the most comprehensive and most extensive technical and expert assistance for chapters 12 – food security and 27 – environment and climate change, clearly indicates the intention of this Government to monitor not only the needs of the accession process and the implementation of the EU Green Agenda for the Western Balkans but primarily the needs of citizens – their right to safe food and clean environment. It is especially important for us that through this project we directly contribute to the improvement of food safety – through harmonization of legislation and learning about examples of the best European practice, and consequently even better protection of consumer rights. Of the numerous activities that have been implemented so far, I would like to emphasize the key ones from Chapter 27 regarding the work on harmonization of national legislation with the acquis communautaire concerning regulations related to water quality,  waste management (including electronic and electrical waste) and the law on environmental accountability.

The citizens of Serbia are always the end beneficiaries of all these activities. In this way, the European standards are becoming part of their everyday lives. The project functions in a way that it enables us to quickly acquire knowledge and examples of good European practice and that is by hiring experts from EU member states who bring experience from their countries related to the EU accession. And all the knowledge is about the ultimate common goal of both the European Union and Serbia, and that is our full membership in that community of European nations and citizens.