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.
During her speech at the conference „Implementation of Activities Envisaged by the Action Plan for Chapter 23“ organized by YUCOM – the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights on behalf of the National Convent on European Union, she pointed out that although the cooperation between the State and the civil sector is very good there is still room for improvement.
– The partnership rests on an equal cooperation of the two sides. The State authorities are transparent and open in giving opinions on the arguments of civil society, and I think that transparency should be mutual – said Miščević, citing the example of the recently published report of the Coalition of Non Governmental Organizations PrEUgovor into which the State representatives had no insight she said.
According to her, Serbia has pledged to send report twice a year to European Commission on the progress of meeting commitments which together with quarterly reports, that serve as an internal control mechanism, leaves no room for delays.
The Ambassador of Germany Axel Dittmann stated that it is significant that Chapter 23 was opened in July, adding that Germany strongly supports Serbia on it’s European path.
– These topics from Chapter 23 are essential for Serbia’s path toward the European Union. Improvement of the rule of law since is key for improving the investment climate and thus for sustainable economic development of Serbia. Also, improvement of the rule of law is important for strengthening the rights of each citizen – said Dittmann.
Oscar Benedict, the Deputy Ambassador of the EU delegation to Serbia, said that the rule of law, unlike the rule of the powerful, represents a prerequisite for membership in the EU.
– Progress in fullfilment of commitments from the Action Plan for Chapter 23 must be visible to us in the EU but it also must be tangible to the citizens of Serbia – said Benedict.
Čedomir Backović, the Assistant to the Minister of Justice who at the last moment canceled her participation at the conference, stated that the Ministry of Justice recognizes the role of the civil society. He described the diversity and particularity of interest as the wealth of the civil society.
– You have youth with wonderful ideas that often bring fresh perspective to problems – stated Backović.
He pointed out that 54 institutions are involved in the activities regarding the implementation of the Action Plan for Chapter 23 and that the Ministry needs the help of the civil sector in coordinating these institutions.