Press release: Publish the non-paper for Chapters 23 and 24

We urge the Government and Ministry of European Affairs to publish the European Commission report on state of play in Chapters 23 and 24, so called non-paper, as the Negotiating Team of Government of Serbia did recently

In Serbia, this document was published on the website of the European Integration Office:

http://www.seio.gov.rs/upload/documents/eu_dokumenta/non_paper_pg23_24_srp.pdf

Serbian report shows that the non-paper paper provides an overview of the situation in the area of rule of law and progress made by Serbia in the second half of 2016 in Chapters 23 and 24.

Due to the new dynamics, Progress Report will not be published this year is, but in the spring of 2018, this represents the only report by the European Commission this year dealing with the countries of the region and the key areas of the rule of law.

Availability of documents deriving from the negotiating process is of crucial importance for citizens’ awareness as well as the involvement of all actors who can contribute to the process and, most importantly, the success and sustainability of the reforms that are being implemented.

This is of paramount importance in this particular case, since Chapters 23 and 24 are the most demanding and crucial due to the they are under the “threat” of activation of the balance clause until the end of the negotiations.

The balance clause is a lighter form of suspension of negotiations that would manifest itself in the “blockade” of opening new negotiating chapters until further and sufficient progress in chapters 23 and 24.

The publication of the report in Serbia has confirmed that there are no grounds for hiding this report from the public, and that it is possible to make the negotiations more transparent.

Bearing in mind that this month marks five years since the opening of Accession Negotiation, the publication of reports with precise findings in the areas of judicial reform, the fight against corruption, human rights, police cooperation and the fight against organized crime would be a sign that the Government is ready to share its results and challenges with the public.

Dina Bajramspahić,
Public policy researcher and member of the Working group for Chapter 23

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