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Report of the Coalition prEUgovor about the progress of Serbia in chapters 23 and 24

Coalition prEUgovor ascertained in the latest report on fulfilling of criteria for chapters 23 and 24 that tendency of degrading continues, that authorities’ only concern is whether the opposition will boycott the elections, therefore functioning of institutions, rule of law and establishing of social consensus are not the priorities.

The summary of the report states that authorities are not investing efforts to fulfill their promises, therefore even formal obligations, adopting and prolonging of certain strategies, are inadequate and insufficient.

Fight against corruption is characterized by inexistence of strategic framework, lack of political will, and regulatory and control bodies are still inactive and don’t have enough support, states the report forthe period from April to September.

It warns that ruling party abuses state resources and functions for its propaganda and election needs. Regulatory Body for Electronic Media, Anticorruption Agency and other regulatory and control bodies do not perform their function, therefore after unsuccessful negotiations, majority of truly opposition parties announced boycott of parliamentary elections, adds the report.

Number of laws adopted by urgent procedure decreased, while adoption of constitutional amendments is delayed again. Furthermore, it states that activities within the security sector are disturbing, while relations with neighbors are relatively stable–with Croatia and BIHare unchanged, mainly poor, while with Montenegro are even worsened due to adoption of the law that regulates the status of the temples of the SOC.

Negotiations with Kosovo are frozen, and customs taxes of Priština are still valid, mentions the summary, and added that so called internal dialogue about Kosovo is not even mentioned and nothing has been accomplished so far.

Director of the Belgrade Center for Security Policy, Sonja Stojanović Gajić, stated that main messages of the report are: that the EU should continue its policy of association, that is starting of negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, as well as to create estimations of current status in the chapters 23 and 24 for all Western Balkan countries. According to her words, it is necessary that the EU should more efficiently supervise reforms in the area of rule of law in the countries that are in the process of association, stating as an example PRIBE report for North Macedonia.

Program Director of Transparency Serbia, Nemanja Nenadić, spoke about election process,and dialogue about election conditions on the Faculty of Political Sciences, that he estimated as belated. He stated as example obligations from 2013to changethe Law on Financing of Political Activities, planned for 2014, and only now just three provisions of that lawwere considered. Nenadić pointed out to "dangerous thesis" not only of local authorities, but also some from the EU, that what could be done by the elections should be done, and the rest should stay for afterwards, indicating that by the time of the elections complete changes of the law could be implemented and not only three of its articles.

He criticized that the authorities haven’t done anything to prevent officials’’ campaign, and especially emphasized example of the president of the Government of Vojvodina Igor Mirović, who abused public resources by sending the driver to the elections in Lučane, as well as using of the money of public enterprises for financing of sport equips.

Nenadić commended changing of the practice of the Parliament of not using the emergency procedure anymore, as well as consideration of the reports of independent and regulatory bodies, but stated out that quality of adopted conclusions is far worse than five years ago.

Talking about opening of chapters, Nenadić said that the mistake of the EU is to condition opening of other chapters with poor results in chapter 23.

VanjaMacanovićfrom the Autonomous Female Center spoke about implementation of the law on free legal aid, stating that this is the law that confers the message "I give you the right, but I don’t actually give it to you".

Researcher of Belgrade Center for Security Policy Saša Đorđević spoke about changes in the security sector, and as most critical points stated that changes of the Law on Public Procurements introduce the article by which the security sector is allowed signing of contracts without the procedure. Đordevic said that by adopting the National Security Strategy it introduces the authorities of the President of the Republic that are not in line with the Constitution. Instead of Government of Serbia, President will manage the complete system of the national security, emphasized Đorđević.

Coalition prEUgovor gathers seven civil society organizations and is established with the purpose of realization of the policies that refer to negotiations about accessing of Serbia to the EU with special emphasis to chapters 23 and 24. The goal of the Coalition is to help using of association process to the EU as a tool for further improvement of democratization of Serbian society.