Support to EU accession negotiations

Project description

Title: Support to EU Accession Negotiations in Serbia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Serbia
Lead executing agency: European Integration Office of the Republic of Serbia (SEIO)
Overall term: 2015 to 2017

Context
In March 2012, the European Council granted Serbia the status of European Union candidate country. Following the visible improvement in relations between Serbia and Kosovo, in June 2013 it was decided to open accession negotiations with Serbia.

To begin with, a screening was carried out to compare the body of EU laws (acquis communautaire ) and Serbia’s own legal and institutional framework. By April 2015, the state of implementation of the 35 chapters of the acquis communautaire had been assessed.

The next step in the negotiations involves the preparation of evidence-based implementation strategies, action plans and negotiation positions for each of the chapters. Accordingly, 35 negotiation groups have been charged with this work, each of which is headed by the appropriate line ministry. They are expected to involve all stakeholders in developing the documents.

The GIZ project provided advice for the establishment of Serbia’s negotiation team. This team coordinates the accession negotiations at the technical level, for which it also receives support from the Serbian EU Integration Office (SEIO). Serbia’s minister without portfolio (in charge of EU integration) is leading the EU accession negotiations at the policy level. All the stakeholders must coordinate their activities and strategies accordingly, in order to speak with one voice in Brussels. Effective cooperation is therefore very important.

Objective
The key institutions coordinating the EU accession negotiations do their work effectively.

Approach
The project advises the Serbian Government on the EU accession negotiation process. It is strengthening the coordination of the different stakeholders using, among other things, evidence-based analyses and strategies. To this end, it supports macro-economic analyses and the production of guidelines to ensure the coherence of documents used in the negotiations. Also being developed are strategies and concepts for the formulation of the negotiating positions and for the conduct of the negotiations themselves. The main focus is on the chapters of the acquis communautaire with relevance for development policy: Chapters 11 (Agriculture and Rural Development), 17 (Economic and Monetary Policy) and 22 (Regional Policy and Coordination of the Structural Instruments).

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is providing organisational and policy advice to the Government of Serbia. It supports sustainable capacity development for the individuals and organisations directly involved in the negotiations. A central component of the project consists of support for exchanges of technical expertise related to the negotiation process, between EU Member States and other candidate countries.

Besides the SEIO, other partners for the project include the Negotiation Team, the Minister without portfolio in charge of EU integration, the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture, the Secretariat for Public Policies and the Serbian National Bank.

Results achieved so far
From August 2012 to March 2015, a predecessor of this project provided advice to the Serbian Government on preparing and implementing the screening process for the accession negotiations. The current project can build on the results achieved during that time:

In September 2013, the Serbian Government adopted the negotiation structure with 35 inter-ministerial negotiation teams as well as rules and regulations for the procedures and processes during the negotiations.

The state training system for civil servants has been adapted to accommodate the specific needs arising from the EU accession negotiations. The professionalism of the quality management unit at the state-run EU training institution has been improved, in readiness for an expansion of the training courses for civil servants. Other training institutions in the region have since submitted requests for knowledge transfer.

Contact

Andrej Horvat
andrej.horvat1@giz.de