18/12/2013 - General Affairs Council (GAC)
Serbia to start accession negotiations in January 2014
On 17 December 2013 the Council discussed the EU enlargement and stabilisation and association process and adopted the general EU position on accession negotiations with Serbia.
The general EU position on negotiations with Serbia includes the negotiating framework which sets out the principles governing the accession negotiations. The ministers agreed that the first intergovernmental conference with Serbia would take place in January 2014.
The Council took note of the progress achieved by Albania and looked forward to a decision regarding the granting of candidate status to Albania in June 2014. The ministers also commended Albania on its intensified efforts in the fight against corruption and organised crime.
The EU welcomed Turkey's signing of the readmission agreement and the initiation of the dialogue on visa liberalisation. The ministers also called on Turkey to sustain the regained momentum in the accession negotiations.
The Council also discussed progress in Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Serbia - accession negotiations
Under the negotiating framework, the EU acquis will be divided into 35 chapters or policy areas, each of which will be negotiated separately.
The negotiating framework for Serbia incorporates the new approach to accession negotiations, which puts the rule of law chapters - judiciary and fundamental rights and justice, freedom and security - at the heart of the enlargement process.
Timeline of Serbia's EU integration:
- December 2009: Serbia presents its application for membership
- March 2012: the European Council grants Serbia the status of candidate country
- June 2013: the European Council decides to launch accession negotiations with Serbia in January 2014 at the latest
Other topics on the agenda
The ministers examined draft conclusions for the European Council meeting on 19-20 December 2013. EU leaders will discuss the future the common security and defence policy, the deepening of the economic and monetary union, economic and social policy, migration, enlargement and external relations.
The Council also adopted conclusions on the review of the European External Action Service (EEAS). They include short-term recommendations on the internal aspects of the organisation and functioning of the EEAS, including as regards preparation of Council meetings, inter-institutional cooperation, the role of EU special representatives and staffing.