Following the meeting with EU Member States’ Ambassadors, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said she expected new chapters to be opened in December, while Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi said the opening of new chapters was not discussed at the meeting, adding that this will be part of the Intergovernmental Conference in December.

Brnabic told the press at the Palace of Serbia that the meeting discussed the rule of law and the progress Serbia has made in chapters 23 and 24, certain issues whose tackling is overdue, as well as chapter 35.

She said that Serbia has drafted negotiating positions for seven chapters.

“We are absolutely positive that a number of chapters will be opened at the Intergovernmental Conference in December, although we are still unclear about the exact number,” said Brnabic as she answered a question regarding EU’s negative remarks laid out in the draft progress report on Serbia.

She conveyed her concern regarding the dialogue with Pristina and Pristina’s continuing breach of all agreements to EU Ambassadors and asked them to take the situation seriously.

“What is next now that we are faced with Pristina’s continuing breach of all agreements, deals,” Brnabic said and asked the EU Ambassadors to take that situation seriously, adding that she sent a similar letter to ambassadors around the globe.

Speaking about chapters 23 and 24, she said that much has been done in 2018, but pointed to the overdue Law on Anti-Corruption Agency, whose draft version has been dubbed the Law on Fighting Corruption.

We are late because we asked GRECO to provide us with an additional opinion. We have received it, she said, and will adapt the Law to reflect their comments, Brnabic said.

According to her, the draft Law on the Protector of Citizens is under preparation, too.

“The Law on Gender Equality is also overdue. Following a public consultation, we sent the draft to the European Commission and are now awaiting their response,” Brnabic said.

When it comes to judiciary-related constitutional amendments, Brnabic said that the Ministry of Justice did an amazing job, adding that she expects the Parliament to start discussing amendments adoption by the end of 2018.

The meeting also discussed the media, and Brnabic said she expects the first draft of the Media Strategy to be completed by the year’s end.

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi said that there was no discussion about the opening of negotiating chapters, adding that it will be on the agenda in December.

According to him, the Tuesday meeting between EU Member States in Brussels took place behind the closed doors, so he was not at liberty to discuss the finer points of non-paper documents.

“What matters is to monitor chapters 23 and 24. That document is considered valid and will soon be submitted to Serbian authorities and the Government will have a chance to comment on it,” Fabrizi said.

As he put it, the message from the meeting is that the EU is strongly supporting the Government of Serbia in its efforts.

He noted that the EU was closely following the progress in the area of combatting corruption and that it will decide its next steps relying on the acquired information, adding that the EU expected more efforts to be invested in chapters 23 and 24.

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic said that the non-paper is an unofficial document about the progress in chapters 23 and 24 prepared by the European Commission for EU Member States. Those chapters, she added, are the basic criteria in deciding the number of chapters to be opened during the Austrian Presidency.

Joksimovic said that the Government has not received the document officially, but added that she expected the steps taken by Serbia to prove enough to open new chapters by the end of 2018.