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Germany strongly supports the opening of Chapters 23 and 24 in the negotiations of the European Union (EU) and Serbia and will continue to support you in this process – assessed today the Ambassador of Germany in Serbia Axel Dittmann and pointed out that it is now important to work on the implementation of the Action Plan from Chapter 23.

At the conference of the Committee of Lawyers for Human rights „Implementation of the Activities Envisaged by the Action Plan for Chapter 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights“ Dittmann indicated that this Chapter is crucial because it deals with fundamental rights, the rule of law, freedom of expression, democracy and fight against corruption.

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In addition to the negotiating Chapter 5 which deals with public procurement, the Council of the European Union currently holds the negotiation Chapter 25 (Science and Research) and Chapter 26 (Education and Culture).

We do not hide that we are very interested in opening these Chapters by the end of the year, said today Tanja Miščević, the Head of Serbia’s negotiating team.

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Serbia has been struggling for six years to put in place a law on free legal aid, which is one of the requirements for progress in its EU accession negotiations. The law will be adopted by the end of 2016 and implemented in 2018, the justice ministry told EurActiv Serbia.

Due to the low salaries, high fees and lengthy court proceedings, many Serbs have difficulty affording justice.

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As part of the preparations for accession to EU Serbia will need to change its Constitution in order to transfer a part of jurisdiction to Brussels and to guarantee the independence of the judiciary. Contrary to popular belief it will not be necessary to exclude the pursuit over sovereignty of Kosovo from the highest legal act, estimated today legal experts at the presentation of the analysis dedicated to this topic.

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Consultative meeting of the National Convention of the European Union for Chapter 23 was held in Leskovac within the framework of an International Conference regarding the accession of Republic Serbia to the European Union. The meeting was held within NCEU with the support of the German Organisation for Technical Cooperation (GIZ), the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights YUCOM and local council of the European Movement in Serbia.

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At the polls in 2017. the citizens will have to confirm the changes to the Constitution. The option is for a referendum to be held alongside the presidential election.

Citizens of Serbia could go to the polls twice next year – to elect the new president and to confirm changes to the Constitution that are necessary in the process of negotiations with the European Union by referendum. According to our information it is possible for the presidential elections, which fall in the spring, and the referendum on the Constitution to be held on the same day.

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Citizens will also need to approve changes to the Constitution at the polls in 2017. The current options are to hold that referendum along with the presidential elections.

The citizens of Serbia might need to go to the polls twice next year – to elect a president and to approve changes to the Constitution necessary for the continuation of the negotiation process with the European Union. According to our sources, however, the option of holding both the presidential elections and the constitution referendum simultaneously isn’t off the table

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Burka could become an unwanted garment in Germany. Both the minister of internal affairs and the Chancellor say that a concealed face is unacceptable in an open society because it prevents people from fitting in.  Those familiar with current political affairs add another reason – upcoming elections in some of the German provinces and slightly more rigid political statements due to this fact.

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