Kragujevac, September 22, 2020 – A discussion with representatives of local civil society organisations was held today in Kragujevac. The topic of discussion was the involvement of local civil society organisations in the process of European integration in economic chapters, through the National Convention on the European Union (Convention).
The conclusion of the discussion is that, although economic issues make up more than two-thirds of the matter in the negotiation process, they have been neglected due to “political” issues. The topic of how local CSOs monitor and influence the accession process on these issues is particularly invisible.
The Coordinator of the Convention, Nataša Dragojlović, said that “what is the most expensive and most difficult thing to do in the accession process, Serbia shows readiness to deal with it, but, on the other hand, Serbia neglects issues like rule of law, which are not expensive, but requires strong political will.”
The event was also attended by a member of the Negotiating Team of the Government of Serbia for EU Accession Negotiations, Nebojša Lazarević, Coordinator of the Convention’s working groups in Chapters 1 (Free Movement of Goods), 3 (Right of Establishment and Freedom to Provide Services) and 28 (Consumer Protection and Health Protection) and programme manager at CEP, Dušan Protić, and Slobodan Krstović, Head of the Environmental Unit at NALED. In the Convention, NALED coordinates the work of working groups for Chapters 8 (Competition Policy) and Chapter 16 (Taxation).
“The chapters on the free movement of goods, the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services and the protection of consumers and health are almost ready to open. We expect that, when some political issues that hinder the process are resolved, these chapters will be opened, ” said Protić.
Speaking about the importance of involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process, Slobodan Krstović said that “the strength of one institution is reflected in its readiness to accept the opinions of other institutions and stakeholders, to include as wide a range of actors as possible that can be affected when working on laws and regulations: from the economy, civil society, etc. ”
Breakfast was organised within the project Prepare to participate conducted by CEP, NALED and portal European Western Balkans, with the support of the European Commission, with a focus on studying economic issues in the process of Serbia’s accession to the EU and active involvement of civil society organisations in accession negotiations in selected economic chapters.