Chapter 32 – Financial control and Chapter 35 – Other business: Item 1: Normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo have been officially opened with Serbia, marking the start of substantial accession and following the progress achieved in the analytical examination (screening) of the EU acquis.

Regarding the opening of negotiations on Chapter 32 – Financial control, the Union has closely examined Serbia’s present state of preparations and noted that there are benchmarks that need to be met for provisional closure of this chapter. In other words, the country has to continue to make progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis in this chapters.

In addition, the EU underlined that it would devote particular attention to monitoring all specific issues mentioned in its common position throughout the negotiations and if necessary, return to this chapter at an appropriate moment.

Regarding the other chapter and in view of the present state of Serbia’s preparations, the EU noted that, while acting in good faith, Serbia has to continue to make progress in the implementation work and make further progress in the normalization process. Serbia should ensure that it completes its part of the work on implementation of 25 August 2015 agreements, in particular on the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo as well as the other elements of the First Agreement of April 2013 (police, justice, civil protection).

Finally, Serbia should engage in reaching further agreements, furthering the normalization in good faith, with a view to gradually lead to the comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, in line with the negotiating framework. This too will be monitored closely and continuously by the Commission itself.