Serbia opens Cluster 4 – The Green Agenda and Sustainable Connecrivity in accession negotiations with the EU

Ambassadors of EU Member States have confirmed the decision to have Serbia open Cluster 4 in the accession negotiations with the European Union, which relates to the Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity, at the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels that will be held on 14 December.

 Cluster 4 -“Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity” will be opened with Serbia, which combines four chapters related to transport, energy, trans-European networks, environmental protection, and climate change.

Council of the European Union has officially approved the revised enlargement methodology for the Western Balkans in March 2020, which envisaged a classification of the 35 Chapters that serve to adopt, implement, and enforce the EU acquis (acquis communautaire), into six thematic clusters, or policy blocs.

With the opening of Cluster four, four new chapters will be opened simultaneously: on Transport Policy (chapter 14), on Energy (chapter 15), on Trans-European networks (chapter 21) and Environment and Climate Change (chapter 27). According to the new methodology, once the whole cluster has been opened, each topic will be discussed individually in the same period, and every thematic unit will be closed separately. Only once all the thematic units from a thematic group have been closed, the entire cluster shall be considered closed. After closing of each of the clusters, more concrete financial assistance from the EU is expected, as well as higher participation of Serbia in the European policy planning in these fields. In case important reforms are completed, the timeline from the opening to the closing of clusters shall be limited, preferably to one year.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted a decision on submitting, to the European Commission, the adopted Negotiating Position for Chapter 27, covering environment and climate change, in January 2020. This is a highly complex document, which saw 150 representatives from 28 institutions and state bodies of the Republic of Serbia developing this text. In addition to the text, the Negotiating Position includes a total of 14 annexes, i.e., 1650 pages of text, and provides an explanation for the financial framework for activities in the upcoming period, which would allow Serbia to reach EU standards in the field of environment.

In the course of the negotiation process between the Republic of Serbia and the European Union, which started in January 2014, a total of eleven intergovernmental conferences have been held, opening eighteen negotiating chapters, of which two were temporarily closed. According to the new methodology, this would mean that by opening the cluster 4, Serbia has opened the second cluster in its process of accession negotiation with the EU.