5 April 2017 – A consultative meeting between Serbian civil society organisations (CSOs) and representatives of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Serbia and the European Commission (DG NEAR) was held in Belgrade on 5 April 2017. The meeting was held in the framework of the initiative to involve the CSOs in the work of the Special Group on Public Administration Reform (PAR), as part of the structure for monitoring of the implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). The consultative meeting was initiated by the CEP as a WeBER Platform coordinator and was held before the Special Group meeting, which gathered on 5-6 April.
Other organisations that attended the meeting were WeBER Platform members in Serbia – Civic Initiatives, Belgrade Open School, and European Movement in Serbia, as well as other organisations – Transparency Serbia, the National Coalition for Decentralization, Development Initiative Group – SeConS, Association for accessibility Audit and Praxis.
The participants addressed the topics from the Special Group’s agenda, which had been identified as important by CSOs, from the aspect of civil society participation in PAR monitoring:
• Implementation of the PAR Strategy and its 2015-2017 Action Plan;
• Policy development and coordination, with a focus on inclusive and evidence-based policy and legislative development;
• Public service and human resources management and guaranteeing the neutrality and continuity of the public administration;
• Other important topics, including the implementation of the Law on the General Administrative Procedure.
Within the given topics, the CSOs especially emphasised the issue of a delayed adoption of the Decentralisation Strategy, as one of the key strategic documents in the PAR context; then the experience of CSOs in monitoring the PAR Strategy implementation through participation in the Inter-Ministerial Project Group; the CSO and other stakeholders’ participation in the consultations on policy development, as well as the ongoing changes of the legal framework to improve the process; human resources management in public administration, with special reference to the question of the status of senior civil servants in acting positions.
Meetings of this kind will be held in the future, as a regular mechanism for involving CSOs in the policy dialogue within the Special Group.