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Marko Ćulafić, President Of The FIC Legal Committee (Karanovic & Partners)

Swifter Harmonisation With The European Framework

Laws are being continuously adopted and amended in Serbia in an effort to harmonise the domestic regulatory framework with that of Europe, but there is still a lot of room for progress

The recent period has seen certain legislative advances achieved in various spheres, with new regulations adopted in different areas. First and foremost, Serbia has continued improving regulations that deal with renewable energy sources. Amendments to the Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources have been adopted, which enabled the procedure to connect new energy facilities to the energy transmission system (which had been practically blocked since April 2021) and conditions have been created to hold the first auctions for the market premium. These amendments certainly represent additional success in the field of renewables and on the environmental agenda.

It is important to note the adoption of a set of new regulations in the field of labour and employees that are expected to have a positive effect. Primarily, the Law on Occupational Safety and Health was amended in such a way that new (more modern) concepts related to occupational safety have been introduced and it seems as though the general protection threshold will be raised in this regard. Furthermore, amendments to the Law on Foreigners and the Law on the Employment of Foreigners has unburdened the state apparatus by introducing an electronic procedure for registering foreigners. The same changes have reduced the limits and requirements for foreigners to obtain permanent residence status. Finally, amendments to the Law on Financial Support to Families have expanded the circle of people who are entitled to compensation on earnings linked to the starting of a family.

We expect the set of new regulations governing the field of labour and employees to have a positive impact when it comes to improving safety in the workplace and easing the hiring of foreigners

It is necessary to highlight the adoption of a package of important laws in the real estate field. Among the most important changes are the amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction, with which conversions with a fee have been abolished. In terms of the aforementioned progress on environmental protection, this law introduces a series of new requirements related to the green agenda, such as the need for all buildings exceeding 10,000m2 to have green certification or the need for a certain number of electric vehicle chargers to be installed in residential and commercial buildings, while buildings will also be required to have an energy passport.

To conclude, it is important to repeat something that’s being constantly mentioned and discussed in business circles: laws are being continuously adopted and amended in Serbia in an effort to harmonise the domestic regulatory framework with that of Europe and in order to reach the standards of the market economy that exist in the EU. However, I consider that a lot of room exists to advance and improve when it comes to the application of (new) legal provisions and reaching European standards (which is certainly among the priority goals of the FIC Legal Committee). It is primarily essential for more consistent practice to exist in Serbian courts, as well as to ensure the general efficacy of the judiciary and regulatory authorities (while simultaneously considering the need to advance the capacity of authorities, given the numerous new and specific areas of importance to business circles). Likewise, more practical opportunities to apply various legal solutions should be enabled (as with the introduction of “foreign” electronic signatures, which would significantly ease operations in Serbia). Finally, it is essential to adopt new laws in certain areas, such as in the area of the protection of competition, and to work to improve existing regulations, such as the Law on the Protection of Personal Data or the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations.

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