Policy and Legal Advice Centre (PLAC) III

Project description

Title: Policy and Legal Advice Centre (PLAC)
Commissioned by: Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia
Financier: European Union
Country: Republic of Serbia
Partner: DMI Associates and European Consulting Group
Lead executing agency: Ministry of European Integration
Overall term: 2019 to 2021

Context

On 28 June 2013, the European Council adopted the decision on opening the accession negotiations with Serbia and invited the European Commission (EC) to elaborate the negotiating framework and on 1 September 2013, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EC and Serbia entered into force. The first Intergovernmental Conference took place in January 2014 to mark to the official launching of the accession negotiations. Following the screening process, on a proposal of the EC, EU member states in the Council decide which chapters will be opened first and which of the appropriate benchmarks will be set up.

Within the negotiations, some areas have a particular weight given the volume of the Acquis and the specificities of the national legislation systems. As further underlined with the EC Enlargement Strategy as well as the Indicative Strategy Paper for Serbia, the rule of law will remain the central element of the enlargement process. Serbia will have to sustain the momentum of reforms over time in the key areas of the rule of law, particularly judicial reform and anti-corruption policy, independence of key institutions, freedom of expression, anti-discrimination policy, the protection of minorities and develop a solid track record of reform implementation. The impact of the global economic crisis has revealed the need for all countries to strengthen their economic governance, improve competitiveness and create a more stable and transparent business environment to attract investments and stimulate growth.

As a timeline for enlargement of the European Union to include countries in the Western Balkans has been made public, in the Commission’s document "Credible Enlargement Perspective and Enhanced Engagement with the Western Balkans", the Republic of Serbia has been listed as one of only two front-runners for accession with a possible target date at the end of 2025. 

The coordination of the EU integration process by Serbia is set out in two national strategic documents, i.e.: The National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis and the National Priorities for International Assistance. Both documents are being developed and their implementation is coordinated by the Ministry for European Integration (MEI). The National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) is a detailed, multiannual plan for the harmonisation of Serbian regulations with the EU acquis, as well as a plan to build the institutions necessary for the implementation of such a harmonised legal order. Plans defined in NPAA will be used as a basis for defining future negotiation positions in individual chapters.

Objective

The Serbian administration effectively conducts accession negotiations and successfully manages overall EU integration and pre-accession assistance geared towards EU membership. A high level of effective alignment of the national legislation with the EU acquis and its implementation is being achieved.

Approach

The project team closely works with the Ministry of European Integration, other line ministries and Secretariat of Legislation, Negotiation Team and negotiating groups. The chapters to which the PLAC 3 project relates are: 

Right of establishment and freedom to provide services (CH 3), Competition policy (CH 8), Financial services (CH 9), Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy (CH 12), Energy (CH 15), Taxation (CH 16), Economic and monetary policy (CH 17), Environment and climate change (CH 27), Consumer and health protection (CH 28), Financial control (CH 32) and Financial and budgetary provisions (CH 33).

Results

  • Result 1: Enhanced compatibility of national legislation with EU legislation and its effective implementation.
    • Throughout the implementation of the project – transposition-related comparative analyses of the legislation with 83 EU legal acts was performed
    • 98 areas laws, bylaws, strategic and other documents important for the harmonisation process and negotiations were drafted. 
  • Result 2: Enhanced capacities of relevant national structures for successfully carrying out accession negotiations.
    • More than 2,250 representatives of the public, private and civil sectors took part in 76 workshops, seminars and training. 
    • An overall Communication and Visibility Plan was developed.

Further Information