24 April 2018 – The European Policy Centre (CEP) held a Working breakfast with journalists, named European Commission’s Report in the Perspective of the Strategy 2025: Where are we now and what should we do? The breakfast was attended by journalists from several media agencies, television, print and electronic media. The hosts of the breakfast were Srđan Majstorović, Chairman of the CEP Governing Board, Milena Lazarević, CEP Programme Director, Ranka Miljenović, CEP Executive Director, and Nataša Dragojlović, Coordinator of the National Convention on EU.
The hosts discussed topics related to the published European Commission’s Report on Serbia but also reports on other countries, including the very important recommendation of the Commission to open negotiations with Albania and Macedonia, in the light of their fulfilment of EU conditions in the rule of law area. This is the information that no one in Serbia commented on yet, Majstorović said, although it is important news for the entire region, as proof that EU membership continues to have the power to motivate the Western Balkan states to transform according to the criteria to join the Union, he concluded.
Majstorović also said that the Report is “neither positive nor negative”, but objective and that we should draw conclusions on what Serbia should do in the coming period. He assessed the Report as “starting point” a report from which the new phase to EU membership begins.
A special attention should be given to the fact that the Report had serious remarks on the work of Serbia’s National Assembly in supervising the work of the Serbian Government, recognizing frequent abuses of procedures in order to prevent discussion, as well as a lack of dialogue with the opposition and the lack of reporting by independent institutions.
“We all need to be seriously concerned,” Majstorović underlined at the breakfast.
Dragojlović said that this year the Report finally recognized what civil society in Serbia has been pointing to for years – the big problem of quality staff leaving the state administration. About this issue, CEP wrote a study published last year, also civil society every day speaks about that problem, Dragojlović said. She warned that “time is not a renewable resource” and that what is going to happen next year and a half on our country’s path to the EU “is of crucial importance”.
Lazarević pointed out that the Report also said that as many as 60% of senior civil servants are in the status of “acting officers”. There is a strong political impact on employment and on the work of these people and that can have very negative consequences, she added. She also said that the public administration was not essentially reformed.
This breakfast with journalists is the second in a series that CEP organises with a wish to (through strategic media coverage) intensify communication with citizens on topics related to Serbia’s EU accession process.