BRUSSELS -- Serbia and Montenegro opened more accession chapters on December 10 in their negotiations with the European Union for eventual membership in the bloc.
The two countries need to negotiate 35 different policy fields, or accession chapters, in order to bring their legislation in line with the EU acquis -- the accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions that form the body of the law governing the 28-member bloc.
Montenegro, considered the front-runner to join the EU among the Western Balkan hopefuls, opened negotiations on the environment and climate change chapter on December 10, bringing the total number of opened chapters to 32. However, it has only managed to provisionally close negotiations on three chapters.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn noted that the opening of the latest chapter "is another proof of the continued advance of Montenegro on its EU path."
Meanwhile, Serbia opened negotiations on economic policy and on statistics, bringing the number of opened chapters to 16.
Hahn said that "progress in these two chapters is key for further structural reforms and economic growth in Serbia. Serbia's current growth is good. Structural reforms have delivered but they need to be sustained."
Serbia has provisionally closed two chapters.