Rule of law is one of the foremost topics in the negotiations between Serbia and the European Union and reforms in this area will bring direct benefits to the citizens of Serbia – this is the message conveyed at the EU for Rule of Law conference.
The European Union pledged 20.8 million euro to assist Serbia’s reforms in the rule of law area, including fighting corruption and organized crime, improving fundamental rights, strengthening technical capacities for Chapters 23 and 24, and strengthening the independence of the judiciary.
At the conference, which was attended by prime minister Ana Brnabić, EU ambassador to Serbia, ambassadors of EU member states participating in projects supporting the rule of law, and representatives of Serbia’s state institutions and ministries, it was highlighted that this project will enable the sharing of experiences of experts from member states with their Serbian colleagues, which will contribute, among other, to readying Serbia’s state institutions and bodies for the efficient implementation of the expected rule of law standards.
“Germany, together with Austria, Lithuania, Spain, the Council of Europe, the OSCE will support rule of law in Serbia under the European rule of law project. It is important to note that the project’s objectives – strengthening fundamental rights, enhancing democracy and rule of law – will primarily bring benefits to all the citizens of Serbia and that, through our activities, we are endeavouring to improve the daily lives of all citizens in the long term. This particularly concerns vulnerable persons, because just and accessible institutional protection is of the utmost importance for them. Together with our Serbian partners, we are working to implement reforms in Chapter 23 of the EU accession negotiations,“ stated German Ambassador Anke Konrad.
Serbia remains committed to strengthening rule of law with the support of its European partners, stated Serbian prime minister Ana Brnabić. “Rule of law is an important topic, not only for Serbia’s European path, but also for improving the lives of Serbia’s citizens, because access to justice, efficient courts as well as the fight against crime and corruption have a decisive impact on their lives. Constitutional amendments have put a stop to the perception of political influences on the judiciary because judges are not elected by politicians but by other judges, and the independence of prosecutors has also been enabled”, stated prime minister Brnabić.
The projects that are part of the support package for rule of law in Serbia is implemented by European Union member states – Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, as well as international organizations Council of Europe, OSCE and UNOPS.
The Facility Supporting the Strengthening of the Rule of Law in the Republic of Serbia” (“EU for fight against corruption and for fundamental rights”), is one of the four components of the support package jointly funded by the EU, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). The project implementing partners are the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Central Project Management Agency (CPMA) and the OSCE mission in Serbia.
From 2014 to date, the EU has provided over 180 million euro in funding to support reforms in the field of the rule of law, judiciary and internal affairs in Serbia.