With regard to alternative reporting on Serbia’s accession to the European Union

BFPE Office

31. October 2017

With regard to alternative reporting on Serbia’s accession to the European Union

Read the announcement by the National Convention

The National Convention on the EU, on the occasion of a letter from the Ministry of European Integration and the Negotiating Team, commenting in a negative tone the prEUgovor report on the lack of progress in Chapters 23 and 24, recalls that the cooperation between the state and civil society is envisaged by the political criteria for membership in the European Union, and described in more detail in the European Union Guidelines for supporting civil society in the enlargement region 2014-2020. In that sense, monitoring the progress of the states in the negotiation process implies the realization of a set of conditions that should provide an incentive environment for the development of civil society, so that it simultaneously achieves a proactive and corrective role on the road to full EU membership.

At the same time, we point out that the availability of information of a public importance is a universal principle guaranteed not only by domestic regulations, but also by the practice of the European Court of Human Rights. On the basis of these principles the National Convention on the European Union has been established, as well as the dialogue with the National Assembly, the Government and the Negotiating Team on all aspects of Serbia’s accession to the EU.

Since its founding, the National Convention has been committed to the full openness of the EU negotiation process, the availability of documents in accordance with the laws and the full involvement of all social actors: both CSOs and the economy and academia and citizens and their associations. All civil society organizations, the media and citizens have a legitimate right to seek and obtain information on the course of negotiations with the European Union, and to obtain data on the basis of which the Government, Government bodies or the Negotiating Team provide an assessment of the fulfillment of measures from the action plans.

Action plans for EU negotiations are available to the public and this is a positive practice established in the Government and with the full support of the Negotiating Team and the ministries that are implementing this process. Such a practice is extremely useful and it is fully supported by the National Convention in order to effectively explain the effects of the negotiations to citizens. Also, it is necessary to make available information about concrete activities, results, omissions, funds, institutions responsible and individuals.

The attitude towards alternative civil society reporting on Serbia’s progress in negotiations with the EU within specific chapters that the civil society monitors and oversees should be suitable for the purpose of the negotiations, but also for the goals of civil society to contribute in a constructive manner to the quality and speed of reforms that the government creates and implemented.

In this light, it is necessary for the Government and the Negotiating Team to show that they value information on the situation on the ground that civil society organizations are collecting for years, as well as indicating what needs to be improved and thus contributing to a better understanding of the reforms. In this way, we would further encourage all stakeholders in society to propose changes and jointly participate in their implementation.

The National Convention remains open to continue dialogue and debate on all civil society recommendations, on democratic principles and good practice, as this is the only way for our negotiating positions and policies to be shaped and applied in the interest of citizens and the economy of Serbia.