EU accession negotiations in the area of the judiciary and fundamental rights (i.e. Chapter 23) require a solid and functioning judicial and related public service system to ensure effective freedom, security and justice for the people of Serbia. A solid legal framework and reliable institutions are required to underpin the wide range of policies in the chapter.
In March 2016 the Serbian government adopted the Action Plan for the implementation of Chapter 23 (AP23), and thereafter in July 2016 accession negotiations on that chapter commenced. Related legislative reform and areas of the AP23 are the competence of the Ministry of Justice which also has the central negotiation, coordination and reporting role for the chapter. A significant part of AP23 implementation however, falls on other institutions, such as the courts, prosecutors’ offices, the police, line-ministries and CSOs, amongst others.
As reflected in the recent 2018 EC Annual Report on Serbia, many reforms remain to be addressed in this complex area. The recent EU Western Balkan Strategy also highlighted that advancements in the rule of law are and will remain central for eventual accession.
As the largest donor to Serbia, the EU is committed to support the reform process, which from previous enlargements has proven to require a significant amount of time.
Strengthening the Capacities of the Ministry of Justice in line with the Requirements of the EU Accession Negotiation Process:
A two-year 2 million euro technical assistance contract entitled ‘Strengthening the Capacities of the Ministry of Justice in line with the Requirements of the EU Accession Negotiation Process’ commenced on 15 May 2018. Its main objective is to improve the justice sector in line with EU accession requirements.
It will address the shortfalls from 3 main angles:
- Improvement of the normative framework and standards;
- Support for the implementation of Ministry of Justice tasks as reflected in the AP23;
- Support to the Ministry of Justice for improved coordination, monitoring and reporting on the AP23 implementation.
The project will be activity-intensive and consist of two full-time experts and over 1,500 days of short terms expertise. Their work will range from legal, institutional and procedural analysis, to support with legal drafting, assistance with day-to-day MoJ activities, as well as trainings, roundtables and conferences, amongst other support.
For more information:
Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Serbia
Information, Communication and Press Unit
EU Delegation Programme Manager, Úna Kelly