Equalization of excise burden on strong alcoholic beverages a prerequisite for joining the EU
Five years after the explanatory and bilateral screening, Negotiating Chapter 16, which refers to taxation, has not been open for negotiations. According to the 2016 and 2017 EC reports, the key problem standing in the way of opening the chapter is the unequal excise burden on domestic and imported coffee and strong alcoholic beverages.
The Western Balkans and the COVID-19
This policy brief underscores outstanding issues that emerged during the COVID-19 crisis with possible long-term consequences on the functioning of democracy and rule of law in the six countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.
Financial Management and Control
This brief analyses the key achievements, indicates main obstacles in its establishment and implementation and sums up the measures needed to be implemented in order to “move” FMC from strategy on paper towards concrete benefits for the citizens.
Opening governments in times of lockdown
The ongoing coronavirus crisis has spurred a myriad of measures from governments in the Western Balkans to better inform their citizens and provide services in emergency circumstances. Yet, responses to the pandemic and the institution of unprecedented lockdown measures have introduced various challenges to already fragile standards of transparency, accountability and rule of law, as well as have exposed shortcomings in the functioning of public administrations, in the Western Balkans.
COVID-19 tracing app in Serbia
Governments across the globe are increasingly using digital tools to accelerate the tracking of people infected with COVID-19 and their contacts as a key measure to prevent the pandemic’s spread. Among potential solutions, contact tracing mobile applications have emerged as the most used and discussed, and it is likely that many governments, including Serbia’s, will include them in national public health efforts.
What have we learned from the COVID-19 crisis in terms of Sino-Serbian relations?
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Serbian and international expert community has become alarmed by Serbia’s overwhelming emphasis on China in its fight against the virus. Coupled with a statement proclaiming the end of European solidarity by the Serbian President as a result of the EU’s untimely assistance, recent developments in Sino-Serbian relations warrant attention – especially from the perspective of Serbia’s EU accession process.
Croatia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU
Croatia takes over the Council Presidency from Finland at a turbulent time for enlargement policy, especially after the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia was postponed yet again. While such a move caused shockwaves among the expert community, it also had a snowball effect of putting enlargement back on the agenda of EU leaders.
Effective benchmarking for concrete rule of law reforms in the Western Balkans
At the outset of a new political and institutional cycle of the EU, 2019 has been a year of many unknowns. For the countries of the Western Balkans, the direction of the future development of EU enlargement policy has been a key concern. During the mandate of the previous European Commission (EC) it has been clear for some time that there is discontent on the side of EU member states concerning the on-the ground effects of the enlargement methodology.
Curbing the executive bias in EU enlargement policy for a stronger democracy in the Western Balkans
Almost two decades have passed since the countries of the Western Balkans (WB) began their way on the European integration process. From today’s perspective, however, the region’s prospects of achieving EU membership in the foreseeable future appear rather grim.
Designing better public services in Serbia
Serbia’s public service providers make decisions with little knowledge of people’s preferences. Designing services together with citizens will not only benefit service users, but will also help the government to learn about its own performance in service delivery.