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Prof. Dr. Ioanna Batsialou, Director and Owner of Ioanna Regen Polyclinic

Sun YES, Ageing NO

Despite the common belief that medical aesthetic treatments are only performed in winter, our need for care is much greater during the summer, says...

Peter Novak, Managing Director at Kolektor Etra

Transformers for the Most Demanding Consumers

Ljubljana-based Kolektor Etra has a tradition of producing power transformers that dates back over 90 years. It is present with its products in more...

Danijela Bojović, Project and Real Estate Manager, Napred

Napred: Synonymous with Progress

Over the past 75 years, Belgrade-based company Napred has established a formidable presence in 10 countries across three continents. This company has consistently emerged...

Djordje Djokic, Senior Partner, Djokic + Partners

Building a Brand Through Quality

Djokic + Partners is considered one of the top law firms in the banking and financial sectors due to its profound understanding of business...

Wolt

Wolt is Transforming the Delivery Industry

Speed, sustainability and growth are supported by technological innovations This headline recently emerged from a Bloomberg interview with Matko Katanec, Wolt Regional Director for CEE...

Nataša Dragojlović, Coordinator of The National Convention On The European Union

No Progress Without A Change In Approach

Both the eu and membership candidate countries need to change their approach. Candidates need to work faster and more decisively, and the eu needs to provide support, as was the case with the countries of eastern and central europe.

The European Commission’s country report is the most valid instrument to verify everything that a country has done on the path to European integration, an an indicator of whether a gap exists (and how wide it is) between a declarative commitment to EU membership and the actual performance in meeting the membership criteria. That report should not be interpreted at all. It should be read as it is written literally and consistently. At the National Convention we carefully read the latest Report and compare it with the evaluations and recommendations that were provided by civil society in the Book of Recommendations six months ago. So, the European Commission isn’t the only body that sees things in Serbia in a certain way. The obstacles and consequences of the action and inaction of the Government are also visible to both experts and citizens of Serbia.

There has been no progress on half of chapters in the observed period, with only partial progress achieved in agriculture, for example, although Serbia has withdrawn only seven million of the 175 million euros from the IPARD programme. For us at the Convention, that is not progress. Then there are the chapters that cover the areas of transport, tax, economic, monetary and industrial policy, while some progress compared to previous years has been noted in chapters 24, 30 and 31.

The Convention agrees with the assessment of the European Commission in this regard, as well as its assessment of progress on Chapter 8 – Competition Policy. Chapters 25 and 26 have been closed temporarily, but the members of the Convention see education and science as crucial in a number of policies where little or no progress has been made. We agree with the European Union that there has been no progress on the chapters covering public procurement, the judiciary, the rule of law and environmental protection. Political criteria also remain at an unsatisfactory level: from electoral conditions, freedom of speech and freedom of the media, to relations with civil society organisations, the position of the National Assembly or the treatment of independent and regulatory bodies and authorities. Serbia’s administrative capacity is increasingly weakening and this is a concern for both the European Commission and civil society.

The rule of law certainly remains the biggest problem for Serbia, with very negative assessments of the state of democracy, which also come from other sources and not only from the European Commission or civil society organisations from Serbia. As these are preconditions for progress on any other chapter and any policy, Serbia has not opened a single chapter this year. However, the same problem exists in Montenegro, yet it still opened chapters. Thus, Chapter 35 still dominates in the case of Serbia. Unfortunately, it remains the chapter of all chapters.

The European Union has adopted its EU Enlargement Strategy for the Western Balkans until 2025. That remains a valid document and an opportunity to carry out the necessary reforms, albeit under the much more difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year was an election year in Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro. We hope that the new governments will be more decisive in establishing the rule of law and respecting the principles of democracy. This will also be a condition for the use of funds from the new EU investment plan for the Western Balkans, which accompanies this Report.

Progress will be monitored according to new methodology. Although very uncertain times are ahead of us and it is difficult to predict anything, one thing is certain: both the EU and membership candidate countries must change their approach. Candidates must work faster and more decisively, and the EU must provide the kind of support it did in the case of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. Otherwise the prospects of membership become more uncertain than ever.

Comment by Zoran Panović

From Lavrov to Macron

Despite the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) having signed a Cooperation Agreement with Putin’s United Russia, and despite SNS President and Serbian PM Miloš Vučević...

Goran Radosavljević, Ph.D. Vice Dean and Director of the FEFA Institute

We Need to Quadruple Our Growth Rate

Reducing corruption, reforming the energy sector and fundamentally changing the secondary education system are the keys to faster economic growth It was two months ago...

Luka Baturan, University of Novi Sad Faculty of Law

Arbitrary Tax Breaks Degrade the System

The biggest job that Serbia has to do – and it pertains to tax regulations – is to radically reform personal income tax and...

Nebojša Bjelotomić, Director of the Digital Serbia Initiative

Instead of Walls and Machines, We’re Investing in People and Their Knowhow

For countries with a falling population, it is recommended that all remaining workers “climb” the ladder of industrial worth. However, this means dealing far...

Swiss Ambassador Urs Schmid Makes Farewell Visit to Serbian President Vučić

In a cordial farewell visit, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić hosted Swiss Ambassador Urs Schmid in Belgrade, expressing hope that...

Ariston Breaks Ground on €75 Million Factory in Niš, Serbia

Italian company Ariston has initiated the construction of a new factory in Niš, Serbia, with a planned investment of...

Serbian Women’s Volleyball Team Awarded Diplomatic Passports

Members of the Serbian women's volleyball team were awarded diplomatic passports as goodwill ambassadors, announced the Serbian government.  Addressing the...

EU Council Lifts Visa Restrictions for Serbian Passport Holders from Kosovo*

The Council of the European Union has adopted a regulation ensuring that the entire Western Balkans region is subject...

Fiat Grande Panda Production Kicks Off in Kragujevac

In a landmark event for Serbia's automotive industry, Stellantis has commenced trial production of the electric Fiat Grande Panda...

EU and Serbia Sign Memorandum on Strategic Partnership for Sustainable Raw Materials

In a significant step towards enhancing cooperation in sustainable raw materials, battery production, and electric vehicles, the European Union...

Biden Ends Re-Election Bid, Backs Harris as Democratic Nominee

President Joe Biden has ended his re-election campaign, endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris to succeed him, after many Democrats...

Andrej Plenković Re-Elected as HDZ Leader with Overwhelming Majority

Andrej Plenković has secured another term as the leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), winning 84,786 votes in...

Serbia and Egypt Sign Landmark Free Trade Agreement

In a significant move to bolster economic ties, Serbia and Egypt have signed a Free Trade Agreement along with...

United States Adds $18 Million In New Funds To Development Partnership With Serbia

Today, the United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced an additional $18 million...

EU and Serbia Sign Memorandum on Strategic Partnership for Sustainable Raw Materials

In a significant step towards enhancing cooperation in sustainable raw materials, battery production, and electric vehicles, the European Union...

Biden Ends Re-Election Bid, Backs Harris as Democratic Nominee

President Joe Biden has ended his re-election campaign, endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris to succeed him, after many Democrats...

Andrej Plenković Re-Elected as HDZ Leader with Overwhelming Majority

Andrej Plenković has secured another term as the leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), winning 84,786 votes in...

Serbia and Egypt Sign Landmark Free Trade Agreement

In a significant move to bolster economic ties, Serbia and Egypt have signed a Free Trade Agreement along with...

United States Adds $18 Million In New Funds To Development Partnership With Serbia

Today, the United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced an additional $18 million...
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