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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Serbia’s opposition leader warns of looming civil conflict in country

November 19, 2019

Nebojsa Zelenovic, the head of the opposition Together for Serbia party, said Serbia “is on the verge of civil conflict,” pushed into by (President Aleksandar) Vucic,” the Beta news agency reported on Tuesday.

Zelenovic also said that “no one, the regime the least, will benefit from a media war in which Vucic has deeply got in,” and demanded the authorities to stop with that before “it escalates into a crisis which no one will be able to control."

“In the last several days, the situation has radicalised because Vucic ordered the extreme nationalists, paid journalists and analysts to launch a witch hunt and to threaten all independent journalists publicly, and especially N1 reporters, who dare to ask him what he doesn’t like to be asked,” Zelenovic said in a written statement.

He added that the situation “escalated when Vucic sent his media advisor Suzana Vasiljevic to a TV with national frequency to menace all who think differently and blame N1 for President’s health condition.”

“The whole of Serbia knows that under Vucic’s order Suzana Vasiljevic edits almost all media and conducts a media hunt against everyone who Vucic declares his enemy, and now draws targets on unfit journalists’ foreheads,” Zelenovic said.

He also asked for a replacement of the complete Regularly Body for Electronic Media (REM) team to improve the media situation in the country.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545153/Serbia-s-opposition-leader-warns-of-looming-civil-conflict-in-country.html

N1 TV under attack again; journalist say it’s dangerous; new attack on Sovilj

November 18, 2019

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic left the Military Academy Hospital on Monday after three days of treatment following his cardiovascular problems and is expected to continue his daily work, but in the meantime, his associates and pro-regime media continued to accuse N1 TV and its reporter Miodrag Sovilj of indirectly engendering the President's health by asking questions about the findings by the whistleblower Aleksandar Obradovic.

Obradovic published what he said were documents about some dubious arms trade deals at Serbia's ammunition Krusik factory and the alleged involvement of Serbia's Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic's father. Obradovic is still at house arrest.

The editor of the pro-regime Informer tabloid Dragan J. Vucicevic told the live programme of Pink TV, also close to Vucic and the authorities: "I personally know how it was difficult to President Vucic about what we saw on television, because of that very interesting news conference at the Belgrade Waterfront, and because of some meetings he had with the European parliamentarians. We can talk about that later if you agree?" The anchor agreed.

But, the only issue was the news conference during which Vucic, following the opening of a boulevard at the Belgrade Waterfront, talked to reporters and answered, among other questions, to those related to the document that BIRN published almost a year ago and which showed that the Minister's father Branko Stefanovic was a part of the GIM company delegation which visited the Krusik factory.

N1 reporter reminded the President about it.

"That college, to describe him like that, probably from N1, who put a phone into the face of the President of the Republic… where is that possible? The idea was to provoke an unwilling reaction of any man; any normal man would react to that. You and I as well; if someone were pushing a phone at us, 90 percent of us would at least pushed the arm (holding the phone). That was the idea to provoke such Vucic's reflex reaction to make a chaos of that later."

Nebojsa Krstic, a marketing expert, added: "To push a phone under the President's nose… He Sovilj) says – have you seen this and pushes the phone; he (Vucic) tells him he doesn't see well, I don't have proper glasses, read me the document. He (Sovilj) reads him parts, and he (Vucic) says read me everything so that I know what is that about. He (Sovilj) tells him 'let's don't play around!' Watch that – you tell Serbia's President something you can say to your friends when playing football or when drinking beer after the football."

Anchor agreed, saying: "That is inadmissible."

Goran Vesic, Belgrade Deputy Mayor: "You could see yesterday, several hours before the President was admitted to VMA… You had N1 reporter Miodrag Sovilj pushing a phone into his (Vucic's) face and address him with (street language) slang. That's really a shame."

However, journalists warn that such an interpretation of the event endangers the safety of reporters and is pressure on media.

Filip Svarm, from the Vreme weekly, said: "Vucic has been used for years to those previously agreed questions. So has the public. In any case, a journalists' professional work and the insistence for an answer is something these authorities don't like; and it is dangerous in a way when you accuse N1 reporter that he has sent the President to the hospital; that he has upset him, provoked him, whatever – you're sending a message that such questions, and the insistence to an answer, are not welcomed."  

Another journalist, Vesna Malisic, from the NIN weekly, added: "The most frightening things are the whole interpretation of that event and an attempt to accuse N1 of almost murdering the President. And that is so dangerous; I think we are entering a risky zone. I think there are smart people who will have to say – stop this, be reasonable, this will all explode because we never know how this can end. We have a bad experience with supporting and encouraging violence."

Out of many cases of threats to N1 in the last five years, only one perpetrator received a suspended sentence, while the other was sent to a mental hospital. 

 

And, here is the transcript of the conversation between President Vucic and N1 reporter Miodrag Sovilj.

The Association of Serbia’s Journalist (UNS) said on Monday that the Pink TV did not deal with information but “start a show-down which had nothing to do with journalism” when published a 10-year old photo of N1 reporter Miodrag Sovilj, from Myspace social network titled “drunk journalist.” The photo was taken in 2006 at the time when Sovilj was still not a journalist. He said he had not used now non-existent network for ten years.

Sovilj: "Have you seen this document?"
Vucic: I can't see anything. I wear glasses. Read it for me.
Sovilj: Look.
Vucic: Well, you read it to me.
Sovilj: This a document from GIM company which shows that the father of the Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic was in the factory (Krusik) on 2017, to view the weapons as a member of that company. So, not at the Fair…
Vucic" So, he was…
Sovilj: Yes, in 2017. It's written here…
Vucic: He was.. In what capacity? Read it to me.
Sovilj" It's written here – as a member of the delegation…
Vucic: Read me what it says… Avoid those tricks, read me what it says
Sovilj: You haven't seen this?
Vucic: No, I haven't. Please read it to me.
Sovilj: You haven't seen…
Vucic No. Please read it to me, I trust you… See how careful and patient I am.
Sovilj reading from his mobile phone: "We ask you to let us in on September 8 for viewing the merchandise for the following individuals (among others) Stefanovic Branko"
Vucic: No, no. Read me the document, please… Read me the document carefully. The whole document, please, for me to hear
Sovilj reading: Business partners from the Imperial Al Jazeera Riyadh from Riyadh and we send you..
Vucic: Which Riyadh now? Which Riyadh…
Sovilj: their passports in the attachment.
Vucic: Which Riyadh?
Sovilj: Was Branko Stefanovic in Krusik in 2017, and in what capacity?
Vucic: How I know that?
Sovilj: You haven't seen this document?
Vucic How I know that? I'm not his mother or father to see if he was or not. And what if he was? What that proves? What if he was? I don't understand...
Sovilj: That he was a part of GIM delegation…
Vucic: What it proves... if he has been...
Sovilj: That he was there representing GIM company…
Vucic: What proves that? Read me the whole document; you are hiding something from me… common, read me the whole text…
Sovilj: Mr Vucic, don't, please. Here you are, read this (shows him the phone)
Vucic: I can't see… There is an SMS sent to you what to ask me…
Sovilj: You can see that and can't see the other…
Vucic: This (SMS) is in larger font, the other is in smaller.. read it to me, I trust you…
Sovilj: Mr Vucic lets' not play around…
Vucic: I'm not playing around, I'm very serious
Sovilj: This is the document from the factory GIM that he was in the factory for viewing the weapons...
Vucic: that he was in the factory… And that is forbidden to be in the factory
Sovilj: Absolutely not. The issue is in what capacity?
Vucic: How I know in what capacity? Where is a crime there? Do you know? Tell me what…
Sovilj: You don't see a conflict in interest there…
Vucic: Well, the conflict… Look now, dear friends, look, people, what happens always. They always say it's a big crime, always. And when one corners them, when it's exposed that they don't have anything they always start talking about the conflict of interest... And by the way, I'm not laying to you; I can't see well with these glasses. Those messages coming your way, they are in the larger font. And you see, I won't say who is sending them and what they tell you to ask me… how fair and honest I'm. And, regarding this, in the end, people always ask is it a conflict of interest. I beg, if I can as the President of the Republic of Serbia since it's not really clear to me either, I beg of the Anti-Corruption agency to deal with it so that we can establish if there was a conflict of interest or not. So, there is no big crime; it's about whether we have a conflict of interest. That is extremely important to be established and then that I topple Nebojsa Stefanovic within the party, as, and rightly so, the political parties which dealt with this were saying. OK.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544899/Serbia-s-President-left-hospital-returns-to-work-but-his-mouthpieces-attack-N1.html

Vucic's media advisor spreads untruths about N1 at lightning speed on Pink TV

November 18, 2019

Besides labelling N1's reporter Miodrag Sovilj, Suzana Vasiljevic, the media advisor to Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic, told the pro-regime Pink TV with national frequency on Sunday night a number of untrue information about N1, describing it as anti-Vucic media.

In five years of its existence, the top leadership described N1 as an American, anti-Serb, Luxembourg's and even CIA TV, but  President's media advisor added another one description – an anti-Vucic television.

"The anti-Vucic's television, which does not allow anyone who has a different opinion from the option which they favour, the Alliance for Serbia (SzS opposition) coalition," Vasiljevic said, named several politicians who were not a part of the ruling coalition but also not a part of SzS.

However, all of those named by Vasiljevic were guests to N1's TV programmes and more than once. And not just them but also the representatives of the regime, including an MP and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

Aleksandar Vucic has never accepted an invitation open to him from N1 TV's beginnings five years ago.

"I know that the truth I spill with the lightning speed always defeats you," Vucic told reporters on Friday.

 The opportunity to ask questions N1 has only at news conferences and not every time. "It's not an opportunity or place always, but we are trying to give a chance to everyone, especially because he (Vucic) likes to answer their (N1 reporters) questions," Vasiljevic said.

She added that could change and that she would not allow the journalists to "come too close to the President any more."

An excuse for the change Vasiljevic found in the case in the White House last year when CNN's Jim Acosta was thrown out from a news conference.

"They took away his accreditation, only because Mr Acosta asked President (Donald) Trump a legitimate question about his statement regarding migrants, "Vasiljevic recalled.

But she forgot to add that Acosta's accreditation was returned to him three days later by the court order.

In a series of untrue and incomplete information, President's media advisor revealed an exclusive one – if true.

She said that those responsible for throwing leaflets into N1's yard were members of a rightist organisation.

"They threw several leaflets, and the state had nothing to do with that, a rightist organisation did it, the state condemned, we did whatever was in our power, but …," she said.

It is unclear where from Vasiljevic got information that a rightist organisation threw leaflets into N1's yard when no one from the respective institutions had said anything so far.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545003/Vucic-s-media-advisor-tells-untruths-about-N1.html

RSF reminds Vucic about promise and says leave N1 alone, look at tabloids

November 18, 2019

The international media organisation, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the latest attacks on N1 TV in Serbia, Pauline Ades-Mevel told Radio Free Europe (RSF) on Monday, adding that the organisation carefully followed and analysed the media situation in Serbia, and especially the events related to N1.

 Adding RSF sees N1 media outlet as the only big independent television in Serbia, Ades-Mevel said the attacks on it became more frequent in last weeks.

“We condemn the attack on N1 director Jugoslav Cosic, as well as the leaflets with a message to N1 to leave Serbia, which were thrown by masked individuals while the TV was broadcasting the interview with a candidate for Kosovo’s next Prime Minister Albin Kurti. Besides, the threats included those via social networks. Cosic received threats in that way as well. Also, in mid-October, we recorded that unknown perpetrators approached N1 reporter, threatened him and told home to go back to Luxembourg,” she added.

RSF reminds that the attacks on N1 were nothing new and that their number was increasing.

Ades-Mevel said: We appeal that N1 is left alone to do its job. "It’s much better to pay attention to Serbia’s tabloids which publish hate speech and attack journalists."

She recalled the RSF meeting with President Aleksandar Vucic, adding they warned the authorities about many worrying issues about the media in Serbia, including the journalists’ safety.

“We put forward some requests and recommendations for the improvement of media freedom in the country. Maybe its time now to remind the President about his promise he will look into the recommendations and try to improve the situation. We won’t give up, neither will we stop the dialogue with the presidency. We have established the dialogue with Serbia’s authorities and we expect them to correct certain things so that Serbia can continue its Euro-integration. We’re ready to talks with Serbia’s authorities again and express our great concern regarding media freedom in Serbia. We expect the recommendations that we sent to be looked into,” she said.

Ades-Mevel added RSF would continue to call on Serbia’s authorities to implement measures for protection the journalists and media freedom. And that the organisation “will continue to point out to Serbia’s authorities the problems, that the situation was not good.”  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544931/RSF-warns-about-increasing-attacks-on-N1-TV.html

CPJ to Serbia's regime: Let N1 reporters work freely

November 18, 2019

The Committee for Protection of Journalist (CPJ) is worried about recent events with N1 TV and called on Serbia's authorities to enable the TV's reporters to work freely and in a safe environment, the Voice of America (VOA) reports on Monday.

The pro-regime tabloids in Serbia started a new cycle of the attack on the regional N1 TV and its programme director Jugoslav Cosic, accusing him of being "an Albanian lobbyist" and "mercenary", VOA said.

The latest target was N1 reporter Miodrag Sovilj, whose question to Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic the pro-regime media and the ruling party officials linked to the worsening of President's health.

The CPJ Programme Coordinator for Europe and Central Asia Gulnoza Said told VOA in a written statement that "the N1 journalists should be able to do their job completely free and be safe."

"Serbia's authorities should secure the safety of journalists and investigate the acts of intimidation and maltreatment of N1's employees and bring to justice those responsible," Said wrote.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545035/CPJ-warns-Serbia-about-its-treatment-of-N1-journalists.html

EC: Warring threats, intimidations and violence against journalists in Serbia

November 18, 2019

Serbia must speed up reforms in judiciary's independence and responsibility, the freedom of expression, preventing corruption and fight against organised crime, the European Commission said in the latest report on the rule of law in Serbia, the state RTS reported on Monday.

The EC also said that "the cases of threats, intimidation and violence against the journalists were still worrying, especially at the local level," adding that "political and economic influence on media are reasons for concern."

Back to the judiciary, the EC said the process of the Constitutional reforms to empower the independence of the judiciary was on hold at the moment since the Government submitted the initiative for the Constitutional changes to the Parliament in November 2018," the EC report, seen by RTS said.

"Serbia achieved progress in legislative and institutional reforms, while in other areas, it faces a serious delay. There are areas in which the results are visible, while in others there is no advancement," the EC report added.

The EC report also said that "Serbia's authorities announced the next move, the voting in the Parliament plenary session after the general elections in spring of 2020." The EC also recalled that the Venice Commission said the draft of the Constitutional changes was in line with its recommendations.

EC also said that "the current constitutional and legal framework still leaves room for an inappropriate political influence over the judiciary."

"The Government officials, sometimes from the top, continue to publicly comment on ongoing investigations and courts' procedures, as well as individual judges and prosecutors. The campaigns in tabloids target the members of the judiciary known for critical views about the reforms in the judiciary," EC said. It added that there was a serious delay in the coordination of the anti-corruption policy, changes to the Law on Financing of Political Activities and the adoption of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance in comparison to the set deadline.

The EC said Serbia advanced in border managing, including the implementation of the asylum procedure in line with the European standards, in fighting cybercrime, human trafficking and money laundry.

"All the mentioned should produce a better result in fighting organised crime, more pro-active approach in the financial investigations and confiscation of illegally obtained resources," the EC said.

It added that Serbia could open one or two more chapters in accession talks with the European Union in December – chapter four about the free flow of capital, and chapter two of free movements of the labour force.

The chapters 21 on trans-European networks and 14 about traffic policy are still under consideration in Brussels.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545017/EC-says-Serbia-lagging-behind-in-many-areas-of-reforms.html

Public companies CEOs to lose position if they take part in functionary campaign

November 18, 2019

The public companies managers in Serbia would lose their position if they take part in the so-called functionary campaign to promote political parties and individuals, as well as other forms of such campaign, the Nova Ekonomija monthly reported in its latest edition.

The draft on the changes to the Law on Public Companies says the promotion of political parties and individuals means the use of official space, cars and companies’ inventory for free.”

A manager will also be replaced if politically active in promoting parties and individuals during working hours and if pressures the employees to support a party or individual.    

He or she will also lose the position in case they have known about the use of company’s resources in the political activities of the employees. The managers will also be fined from 50,000 to 150,000 Dinars (1€ = 118 RSD). Those changes are said to be made in line with OSCE and ODIHR to improve the election process in the country.    

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544817/Managers-in-Serbia-will-lose-position-if-enegade-in-functionary-campaign.html

Kosovo's Kurti says it's known who killed Kosovo Serb leader

November 18, 2019

Belgrade must extradite Milan Radojicic, one of the suspects in the assassination of Kosovo Serb opposition politician in January 2018, adding "it's known who saw Oliver Ivanovic as a stone in a shoe and who liquidated him," Albin Kurti the likely next Kosovo's prime minister said on Monday as quoted by the local KoSSev website, but fell short of naiming anyone.

 In an interview with Podgorica's Pobjeda daily, Kurti said that Ivanovic's murder "must be resolved, that all suspects and witnesses must be interviewed," reiterating that Belgrade had to extradite Radoicic.

Ivanovic was gunned down outside his office in the northern part of the divided Mitrovica town, mostly populated by local Serbs, on January 16 last year. Some two months ahead of the assassination, pro-regime media in Serbia branded him a traitor in a campaign for the local elections in Kosovo.

Commenting on the idea of the division of Kosovo, Kurti on Monday said that Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic wanted first to divide Kosovo, and then, together with Croatia, to split Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"All of that would suit Russia, which would, after two failed coup d' état in Montenegro and North Macedonia, return in big style (to the region) with a new armed conflict between Serbia and Kosovo. That eventual conflict could not be localised," Kurti said.

He added that "there is no territory swap without bloodshed."

Speaking about Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci, who he said held secret negotiations with Vucic, Kurti added he believed that Thaci's political career was closing its end.

"Thaci had two years for his, i.e., Vucic's idea on territory swap," Kurti said.

Regarding the resumption of the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations, Kurti said Kosovo's priority would be "the talks about what had been implemented of the agreed deals so far," but reiterated that "dialogue with Brussels about the dialogue with Belgrade" was needed.          

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544803/Kurti-Belgrade-must-extradite-suspect-in-Kosovo-Serb-politician-murder.html

Serbia’s Vucic discharged from Military Academy Hospital in Belgrade

November 18, 2019

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic was reported in a stable condition and was discharged from the Military Academy Hospital (VMA) for home treatment after being in the hospital for three days due to cardio-vascular problems, state RTS TV reported on Monday, the Beta news agency reported.

Vucic said earlier he would be back at work on Monday.

He was admitted to VMA on Friday afternoon with cardio-vascular problems, and his media advisor Suzana Vasiljevic told the pro-regime Pink TV the President spent two days attached to devices and felt better on Sunday.

“He felt so bad that he asked to be taken to the hospital,” Vasiljevic said, adding she hoped Vucic would now “start listening to the doctors and take his therapy.”

Zlatibor Loncar, Serbia’s Health Minister, said later Vucic had some minor heart problems, but that on Friday, his health seriously deteriorated and he decided to seek medical help.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544781/President-Vucic-disgarged-form-hosital-after-three-days.html

France proposes seven-step EU accession process

November 17, 2019

Western Balkan countries should become EU members, but that should happen through a new step-by-step process, France has proposed.

Last month France vetoed the opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia, claiming that the EU should first reform the enlargement policy. Now the country has put forward more specific ideas on what that should look like based on the gradual association of candidate countries before they become full members.

France has circulated to EU diplomats an informal, six-page paper which should serve as the basis for debate in EU institutions.

The first debate could be held on Tuesday at a meeting of the General Affairs Council, and the new European Commission could flesh out more detailed proposals in January 2020.

According to the new French model, cited by the EUobserver website, the new accession process would contain seven steps.

During EU accession negotiations, candidates must adopt the entire European law, which is divided into 35 chapters. When the negotiations are completed, an accession treaty is signed and a candidate becomes a full member after the treaty is ratified by all member states.

After the seven-step process, each candidate state would gain access to selected EU policies and programmes.

The seven steps are: rule of law and fundamental rights; education and research; employment and social affairs; financial affairs; the single market, agriculture, and fish; foreign affairs; and "others".

When candidates fulfil step one, they would gain access to Eurojust and Europol, for instance, while step five "would make candidate countries eligible for structural funds."

The French paper "reaffirmed" the EU's "unequivocal support for the European perspective of Western Balkan countries". It did not mention Turkey, which is also an EU candidate, but the talks were suspended three years ago.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544611/France-proposes-seven-step-EU-accession-process.html

Health Minister: The President's life was in danger

November 17, 2019

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic suffers from minor chronic heart problems, but his life was seriously endangered on Friday when he went to the Military Medical Academy, Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar said on Sunday.

As soon as the President was admitted, the medical team undertook all necessary measures to help him and he responded to the therapy well, Loncar said.

Doctors advised Vucic to reduce his activities in the coming period so he can fully recover.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544557/Health-Minister-The-President-s-life-was-in-danger.html

North Macedonia's PM announces his country could join NATO in January

November 17, 2019

North Macedonia's Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev, has announced that both Spain and France will soon ratify the accession protocol for his country to become a full NATO member in January.

Zaev said at a party panel in Veles that Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told him on Friday that a new government would be formed in his country soon after the November 10 election.

"Spain will form a government very soon and ratify the NATO protocol which we are expecting. At the end of November, France will ratify it in Parliament because the Senate has already done so. All NATO countries will ratify the protocol," Zaev said.

Spain and France are the last of the 29 member states yet to ratify North Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544609/North-Macedonia-s-PM-announces-his-country-could-join-NATO-in-January.html

Serbian President admitted to hospital

November 16, 2019

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has been admitted to hospital with cardiovascular problems, a press release from the President’s General Secretariat said.

Vucic was admitted to the Military Medical Academy (VMA) in Belgrade on Friday afternoon, the press release said without providing any other details of the president’s ailment.  

N1 was told in the Presidency that Vucic is stable. The presidency sources could not say when he would be discharged, adding that it depends on assessments by his doctors.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544321/Serbian-President-admitted-to-hospital.html

Pristina to EU: Don’t condition visa-free regime with dialogue with Belgrade

November 15, 2019

Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry described on Friday "the attempts by some new Brussels officials to link the visa liberalisation to the end of the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations as wrong,” the FoNet news agency reported, citing local Kosovo media.

The Ministry said that the “imposed non-constructive approach burdens the agenda… and creates a basis for misunderstanding and wrong interpretations.”

"Such an idea violates the freedom of movements and presents the mixture of two processes which should not be linked,” the Ministry statement said.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544261/Pristina-tells-Brussels-Don-t-mix-visa-regime-with-dialogue-with-Belgrade.html

French non-paper: Reversibility needed in new enlargement strategy

November 15, 2019

France sent a so-called non-paper, an informal document to the European Union member states demanding a “renewed approach” in the enlargement process of the Western Balkans countries, Radio Free Europe (RFE) reported on Friday.


The leading French demand is to include the reversibility principle to secure credibility and incentive nature of the process.

Paris considers that principle needed in resolving the situations in which a candidate country partially or not at all fulfils some criteria or if it stops implementing the obligations.

According to the document, sent after Paris last month refused to give the green light to the EU to set a starting date for North Macedonia and Albania accession talks, the European Commission (EC) should publish a new methodology of the negotiations with the candidate countries by January 2020.

The non-paper which RFE had seen also said that “once the negotiations start, the process would not be based on the opening of new chapters, but on several successive phases which would form coherent blocs of policies and a scheme established by the EU, taking care of the specifics of each candidate.

”The document insists on the rule of law and fundamental rights as integral demands from the start of negotiations and as a part of all areas in the process.

It also says that “the final aim would be full accession,” and that the whole process should be “more gradual and more incentive.”

Paris also envisages additional financial aid in the pre-accession process of the Western Balkans countries. That means more pre-accession instruments, but also the access to structural funds now reserved for the member countries only.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a544245/France-wants-reversibility-principle-in-EU-enlargement-process.html

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