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Secrecy of contracts with Fiat and others

The fact that significant provisions of the contract concluded ten years ago on the obligations of the state are secret, is not a justification to continue such a practice, but a reason to prevent secrecy in the future.

President Vučić's statement on the contractual secrecy of giving to Fiat, "for which he is not guilty," is a good reminder to see if Serbia changed anything in regulations or practices that would prevent the state's business from being transparent.

Two contracts with the largest financial consequences, concluded in the last seven years, on the joint venture Belgrade Waterfront and Air Serbia, have been announced. However, this was done months after the signing, when all approvals were obtained and it was no longer possible to legally challenge the contractual provisions.

Furthermore, there are still contracts that are secret in full, contrary to the law, as in the case ofSmederevo ironworks management contract. There is also a large number of public-private partnership contracts, such as a Belgrade airport concession, where some details were published, but not contracts.

The only sure way to prevent the adverse effects of secret treaties would be a

constitutional norm that would make such provisions null. In the meantime, enforcement of all Commissioner's decisions mandating the disclosure of contracts on the appeals, should be ensured.

Namely, Law already knows the possibility of protecting the legitimate trade secrets of the private partners of the state, and in each particular case, the law determines which provisions must be disclosed in the public interest, so that absolute secrecy can never be justified.

In addition, it is important to prevent the intended corruption of that law, based on the 2018 draft, which provides the abolition of the obligation to act on requests by majority state-owned enterprises. On the contrary, even those state-owned minority companies should share with the public some information related to the use of public resources.

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