The report is covering period from May to October 2015 and is divided into three main parts: Political criteria, Chapter 23 and Chapter 24, containing recommendations for possible future improvements.
The coalition prEUgovor has been monitoring Serbia’s progress in regard to the adherence to policies covered under Chapters 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security) of the EU accession negotiations.
Members of the prEUgovor coalition actively participated in preparing the Action Plans, notably by giving concrete comments on improvement of particular segments falling under their scope of activity. After the final drafts of these documents were presented, prEUgovor members decided to monitor the dynamics and quality of the fulfilment of individual measures and activities relating to those recommendations that are within the sphere of interest of coalition members.
In this regard, in addition to assessments of the general situation in individual fields, a focus of this independent report is also placed on concrete individual activities that the state takes or intends to take. As Serbia is only at the start of the negotiation process, while chapters 23 and 24 will be in the EC’s focus until the end of the pre-accession phase, in the coming period the emphasis of the prEUgovor will be even more strongly placed on monitoring the fulfilment of individual obligations arising from the Action Plans.
Reform of the judiciary, fight against corruption, and respect and improvement of fundamental human rights (including, of course, relations with Priština!) are the fields and topics that have dominated, for years, relations between Belgrade and Brussels.
However, the main topic in the public discourse and political life in Serbia has been, in the past period, the great refugee crisis that the EU has been facing since spring 2015, including Serbia as one of the key transit countries on the new migration route. The refugee wave, triggered by several crisis hotbeds, notably the years-long civil war in Syria, has still not subsided. Since the crisis erupted, several hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have passed through Serbia on the road to “richer” EU countries. Despite the enormous influx of people and tensions that the crisis created in Serbia’s relations with the neighbouring countries, notably Croatia, the response of government authorities has been exceptionally human since the start of the crisis, which has been commended several times also by different European officials.
This publication is a part of the project financially supported by The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade (www.norveska.org.rs).