“It has been 7 years since the launch of negotiations on Serbia’s accession to the European Union, and 2020 was the first year in which no negotiation chapter was opened and in which Serbia has made very little progress on its way to the EU membership,” said the Belgrade Center for European Policy (CEP).
CEP assessed that the authorities in Serbia are primarily responsible for this, due to the lack of concrete results in the fight against corruption, the worsening of the situation regarding the electoral process and the pressure on independent media, organizations and individuals.
Stating that the pandemic has further highlighted all the shortcomings in the functioning of democratic institutions in Serbia, the CEP underlines that during the state of emergency in Serbia there were intensified attacks on activists, a large number of extremist groups emerged, false non-governmental organizations (GONGOs) appeared, as did phantom media platforms that serve to spread fake news, while the national parliament was often used to spread misinformation.
Moreover, carrying out obligations in key areas in Serbia is unjustifiably late, so any fulfilment of long-promised changes, such as the adoption of a new media strategy or a judicial reform strategy, is considered a success.
The authorities “should adopt all the recommendations of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on conditions for the conduct of free and fair elections, to ensure concrete and measurable results in resolving key cases of corruption and organized crime, to provide conditions for independent and impartial action by the judiciary, for the protection of freedom of speech and freedom of the media.”
The government was called upon to “significantly improve the transparency of the European integration process and provide regular access to information on key steps and dynamics of harmonization of national legislation with EU norms and standards, as well as to use the new EU enlargement methodology that can help and accelerate Serbia’s path to accession, as it will allow for a comprehensive and sectoral approach to the necessary reforms.”
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