European Affairs ministers give green light to Serbia’s EU negotiations

18 December 2013, Last updated at, 13:32 EET
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author: The Council of the European Union

EU ministers for European affairs on December 17 in Brussels approved the negotiating mandate for the accession negotiations with Serbia and evaluated the progress on the enlargement and stabilisation and association process.

“We congratulate Serbia on the imminent start of negotiations. We look forward to the first intergovernmental conference in January. We also commended Belgrade and Pristina for good progress in their dialogue, noting that the work on the implementation of the April agreement must continue as many challenges remain. We also agreed for the continuing negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo,” said Minister Linkevičius, chair of the General Affairs Council.

Minister Linkevičius also noted the important progress on reforms in Turkey and the Council agreement that the regained momentum in the accession negotiations with Turkey should be sustained.

“Signature of readmission agreement and the launch of visa liberalisation dialogue with Turkey reaffirms the importance that European Union attaches to its relations with Turkey,” said Minister Linkevičius.

The Council also noted substantial progress in the European integration shown by Albania. Ministers will come back to the issue of granting candidate status to Albania in June 2014. The Council also discussed progress in Montenegro, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ministers also discussed the draft conclusions of the European Council in December 19–20. The meeting will feature debates on the EU Common Security and Defence Policy, Economic and Monetary Union, economic and social policy, as well as Eastern Partnership, enlargement, migration, and energy.

The Council evaluated the European External Action Service Review by adopting Council conclusions prepared by the Lithuanian Presidency over the past six months.

“The Conclusions adopted today will help further strentghen the European External Action Service. We have agreed on develop the role of the EU delegations, providing consular protection to citizens of the Union in third countries,” said Minister Linkevičius.

Minister Linkevičius also presented to the ministers the results of the Informal ministerial meeting on Cohesion Policy that took place on November 26 in Vilnius.

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