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

Progress In Building The Legislative Framework

Although work is constantly being done in Serbia to harmonise the legislative framework with that of Europe, it is necessary for more uniform practice among the Serbian courts, but also greater efficiency of the judiciary and regulatory bodies that would follow these changes

The previous period has seen legislative progress observed in various areas that are covered by the White Book. First and foremost, the new Law on Consumer Protection has been adopted and has created a significant shift from the perspective of resolving consumer disputes. The new legal solutions introduced a mechanism for out-of-court settlements of consumer disputes that functions adequately in practice, in contrast to previous solutions.

It nonetheless appears as though the greatest progress in the Serbian legislative framework has been achieved in the domain of energy, with the adopting of a set of regulations governing the use of renewable energy sources. The most important and umbrella regulation in this area is the Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources. This is the first law that exclusively addresses renewable energy sources and that has established a new incentive system for projects that use renewable sources. The incentive system encompasses a premium on the price of electricity that will be paid to companies that prove victorious in the auctions. It is necessary to bear in mind that actual auctions have yet to be carried out because the relevant statute (to regulate balanced liability) has yet to be adopted. Whatever the case, this Law, and the regulations adopted on the basis of it, represent great success for Serbia in the domain of renewable energy sources and the green agenda.

The Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources, and the regulations adopted on the basis of it, represent great success for Serbia in the domain of renewable energy sources and the green agenda

The adoption of the new Law on the Protection of Trade Secrets also represents a notable advance – this new Law more precisely determines various issues, deals more with protecting trade secrets from the aspect of protecting intellectual property, and represents even greater harmonisation with EU regulations. The new Law on the Capital Market has also been adopted and also provides for the more detailed regulating of various topics, which represents further harmonisation with EU regulations and should serve to accelerate the development of the capital market in Serbia. It will only begin to be applied in 2023, thus more time is required to determine this Law’s true effect.

With regard to the aforementioned harmonisation with EU regulations, it is generally necessary to stress that laws are being constantly passed and amended in Serbia in order for the domestic regulatory framework to be harmonised with the EU regulatory framework and in order to achieve the market economy standards that exist in the EU. However, it is my consideration that there is plenty of room for progress and advancement when it comes to the implementation of (new) legal provisions or the achieving of EU standards, which the FIC Legal Committee will continue to work on. It is primarily necessary for more uniform practice among the Serbian courts, but also greater efficiency of the judiciary and regulatory bodies (in which there should be no neglecting of the work required to improve the relevant bodies, considering the large number of new and specific areas of importance to the business environment). Similarly, more practical options for implementing various legal solutions should be enabled (as would be the case with the introduction of “foreign” electronic signatures that would ease business operations in Serbia significantly). Finally, it is also necessary to adopt new laws in certain areas, as is the case with the protection of competition, for example, or to work on improving existing regulations, as is the case with the Law on Personal Data Protection.

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