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    • CSOs can contribute to the prevention of costly errors in the negotiations on Chapter 24

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    • Date: 20 April 2016
      BCSP research team has perfected the knowledge necessary to monitor the fulfilment of measures and transitional provisions under Chapter 24 of the accession negotiations on Serbia’s membership in the European Union.

      Practical analysis of the European Commission’s Progress Report on Serbia in the process of European integration and the attempt to define criteria for the transition of Chapter 24, were the focus of the workshop held by Filip Dragovic to BCSP research team and members of partner organizations, on April 20th, 2016 in the BCSP library.

      If there is no progress in Chapter 24, then there is no progress in European integration, Dragovic, a former Croatian negotiator for Chapter 24, who is now a consultant in the Ministry of Interior of Serbia involved in police reform, stated in the introduction of the workshop.

      “Chapter 24 is very demanding because it contains a vast legal framework, covers various areas, including asylum and border management, organized crime and terrorism, judicial and police cooperation, partially touches on national sovereignty and has a significant impact on the foreign policy of a candidate country ", Dragovic said.

      After the presentation of a detailed history of the development of the content in Chapter 24 from the TREVI Group, through the Schengen area to the Maastricht and Amsterdam, all the way to the Treaty of Lisbon which shaped a unique package that now makes the chapter, Dragovic explained, through practical situations, how did the process of negotiations look from experience Croatian.

      “In this process, negotiations are only small part. A candidate country must implement internal reforms regardless of the political context in both the EU and the candidate country, and among all members of the Union. Brussels would not rush Serbia, but Serbia must continuously make the pressure by informing about all of the carried out reforms. Civil society organizations should monitor draft laws and their compliance with EU legislation, as this helps to prevent errors that later take a lot of time and money to correct. But the essence is not in the harmonization of the laws and strengthening public administration capacities, but in preparation for the ever-growing common EU legal framework", Dragovic explained.

      During the workshop, there was a discussion on how the criteria of progress were created and what needs to be done to fulfill them, why transitional measures are introduced in the case of Serbia and Montenegro, how to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan for Chapter 24 and how to demonstrate progress. On the basis of the Progress Report from 2015, the participants of the training with the help of the facilitator did an analysis of parts of the political criteria and Chapter 24. During the work, qualitative and descriptive assessments from the European Commission’s opinion were accurately identified.

      The workshop is a part of a project implemented by BCSP with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain

      Report was translated by BCSP Intern Marija Ignjatijevic.

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