The first programme area has been defined in a way which encompasses the various horizontal issues dealt with in the scope of the political criterion for EU accession. As these are the underlying issues which affect Serbia’s performance in a number of sectoral policies, this is also the largest programme area (in terms of scope and intensity of CEP’s activity). The issues covered in this area are, to an extent, studied and addressed also in the other, more sectoral programme areas, in a horizontal manner. Additionally, as CEP’s mission focuses strongly on the quality of the policy making arrangements and processes in Serbia, the first programme area is divided into two pillars, in order to acknowledge the particular importance given to the policy making and policy coordination issues. Thus, the two pillars are:
I.a Policy Making and Coordination
The Policy Making and Coordination pillar addresses the systems, arrangements and processes of policy making and policy coordination. The problems existing in this area impact to a large extent the problems arising in various policy areas, as a result of the lack of a real system. Policy making in Serbia is not evidence based, it is insufficiently (and is randomly) inclusive and participatory, and it is not well coordinated inside and across the government structures. Although CEP’s work in other, more sector-oriented programme areas also allows for a focus on sector specific policy making issues, this programme comprises research and advocacy initiatives specifically and thoroughly addressing the deficiencies of the policy making system, with the objective of contributing to the creation of a coherent policy making system, based on evidence, and open to participation by the public.
The issues researched under this issue include: links between policy making and research, ex-ante and ex-post impact assessments, regulatory/legislative processes, interest representation and lobbying, inter-ministerial and coordination at the centre of government, consultations with the public and participatory policy making etc. Policy making in Serbia requires proper planning at strategic and policy level, effective execution management with a focus on performance, and coordination of activities within the Government itself as well as in cooperation with other state authorities and civil society. Finally, in the context of modernisation and reform of the public administration, the government’s policy delivery needs credible, professional monitoring and evaluation.
I.b Democracy, Rule of Law and Government Accountability
The second pillar of the Good Governance programme area focuses on all other aspects if the political criterion for EU accession, with the objective of contributing to a more stable and accountable democratic system of governance based on the respect for the rule of law and human and minority rights. Public administration reform, mechanisms for ensuring government accountability, decentralisation and functional links with the EU integration process in order to prepare Serbia for functioning within the EU multi-level system of governance represent the focal points of this pillar. In terms of the EU accession negotiations this pillar is also intended cover chapters 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, 24 – Justice, Freedom and Security, 32 – Financial Control and aspects of 5 – Public Procurement. In due time, when Serbia approaches negotiations on the institutional chapter, this programme area will include policy research and analysis on Serbia’s representation in the EU institutions.