Serbia needs to step up rule of law reforms to uphold 2025 EU target

Serbia needs to step up rule of law reforms to uphold 2025 EU target

MEPs and Members of the Serbian National Assembly met in Belgrade on 29-30 October for the 9th meeting of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee.

The meeting was co-chaired by Eduard Kukan (EPP, SK) and Vladimir Orlić (SNS). Parliamentarians held in-depth and fruitful discussions on a number of important issues, including the implementation of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the Dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, the rule of law with a focus on the judiciary, constitutional reform, fundamental rights and media freedom, foreign policy cooperation, economy, EU pre‑accession assistance and communicating EU‑related benefits to citizens.

Eduard Kukan stressed that progress on rule of law reforms and on the process of normalising relations between Serbia and Kosovo are two essential principles, which will underpin the pace of negotiations between Serbia and the European Union.

Mr Kukan further stated that the accession negotiations are reaching a critical stage, where Serbia needed to prove that its institutions and legislation work in practice and produce results. This relates in particular to the ongoing work on the parliamentary procedures, judiciary, freedom of expression, and cooperation with civil society, he added. The current pace of negotiations is not adequate for Serbia to enter the EU in 2025; the country therefore needs to substantially speed up reforms, particularly on rule of law.

He also pointed to the importance of commitment and dedication by both sides to the EU-facilitated dialogue, to conclude a legally binding agreement on all outstanding issues.

Mr Kukan also welcomed the adoption of a joint declaration and recommendations and expressed the Parliament’s commitment to continue the very good relations between the two parliaments.

The 10th EU-Serbia SAPC meeting shall take place in Strasbourg on 27-28 March, 2019.