Ivan Karić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Environmental Protection

Chapter 27 – The Most Technically Complicated

Chapter 27 in EU accession negotiations is the most technically complicated and most expensive Chapter – with more than 200 EU regulations waiting to be transposed and implemented

Ivan Karić

The Negotiating Group for Chapter 27 is currently in the stage of finalising the Negotiating Position. The official Negotiating Position is planned to be submitted by the end of 2019. A Directive Specific Implementation Plan (DSIP) for the most challenging areas, such as wastewater treatment, waste management and industrial pollution, are also at the stage of being finalised. The mentioned documents will form part of the Negotiating Position, as large financial investments are required that will need transitional periods. DSIPs for all relevant regulations, which will include transitional arrangements, will be adopted by the Government of Serbia in 2019 and sent to European Commission, along with Negotiating Position. Alongside keeping pace with the ongoing transformation of the EU acquis in this area (such as with the Circular Economy Package adopted in 2018), it was noted that the biggest challenge will be the required investment – of more than eight billion euros – for the treatment of waste and wastewater. In the area of wastewater treatment, around 55% of the Serbian population is connected to the wastewater collection system, while only 7.3% of wastewater is treated biologically. It is necessary to construct 359 facilities for wastewater treatment and around 10,000 km of additional infrastructure for wastewater collection. In the area of municipal waste treatment, although in the field of horizontal legislation, air protection and chemicals.

Negotiating Group 27 is preparing the Negotiating Position transparently, in accordance with the established procedures of the negotiation process itself. In this regard, during the preparation of the Negotiating Position and documents that will form part of the Negotiating Position, Negotiating Group 27 organised a series of meetings with stakeholders (representatives of the civil sector, institutes, university, local government and economy). The Ministry of Environmental Protection and all relevant institutions are doing their best to ensure the necessary legal acts are approved and measures taken, thus ensuring reforms have long-term benefits for the state and its citizens. The implementation of EU environmental standards, through Chapter 27, will provide clean water and air over the long term, reduce pollution, enriching and diversifying nature, which leads to the preservation of health for our citizens and our children. around 30% of generated municipal solid waste is disposed of at 10 sanitary landfills, there are still 3,500 unregulated landfill sites in Serbia. While the current EU requirement is for countries to reach 50% of recycling in this area by 2020, official data for 2016 shows that the percentage of recycling in this area in Serbia stands at only three per cent.

The implementation of EU environmental standards, through Chapter 27, will provide clean water and air over the long term, reduce pollution, enriching and diversifying nature, which leads to the preservation of health for our citizens and our children

In addition to DSIPs, the preparation of the Multi-annual Investment and Financing Plan is underway. It will based on the developed list of infrastructure projects and the criteria for selecting priority projects, harmonising investment needs and available or potential financial resources, and providing a policy proposal for closing the financial gap.

Finalisation of the Action Plan for Administrative Capacity Development for Chapter 27 is also ongoing. It will present the state of administrative capacities at the national, provincial and local levels, but also point out employment needs in this area at all levels.

With the support of the IPA 2014 project, preparations will be launched in the coming period for another eight DSIPs for directives in the field of horizontal legislation, air protection and chemicals.

Negotiating Group 27 is preparing the Negotiating Position transparently, in accordance with the established procedures of the negotiation process itself. In this regard, during the preparation of the Negotiating Position and documents that will form part of the Negotiating Position, Negotiating Group 27 organised a series of meetings with stakeholders (representatives of the civil sector, institutes, university, local government and economy).

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and all relevant institutions are doing their best to ensure the necessary legal acts are approved and measures taken, thus ensuring reforms have long-term benefits for the state and its citizens.

The implementation of EU environmental standards, through Chapter 27, will provide clean water and air over the long term, reduce pollution, enriching and diversifying nature, which leads to the preservation of health for our citizens and our children.