Ministry of Foreign Affairs Themes
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EU Integration Process of the Republic of Serbia
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The Republic of Serbia signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union on 29 April 2008, and the SAA came into force on 1 September 2013.

By means of this Agreement, the Republic of Serbia and the European Union have entered for the first time a stage of relations regulated by an all-embracing agreement, whereby Serbian EU membership prospects have been reaffirmed.

The Republic of Serbia applied for EU membership on 22 December 2009. The European Council passed a decision to grant Serbia the candidate status for EU membership on 1 March 2012, while on 28 June 2013 it decided to open the accession negotiations with the Republic of Serbia.

Course of Accession Negotiations

The Common Position of the European Union (EU) on the accession negotiations with the Republic of Serbia consists of two documents: introductory remarks of the EU at the First Serbia-EU Inter-Governmental Conference and the Negotiating Framework for Serbia's EU accession.

The Negotiating Framework embodies principles, the essence and procedures of the overall negotiating process. The emphasis is laid on the conditions in which a candidate country will embrace and execute the EU acquis communautaire, divided into 35 thematic chapters. The EU expects theRepublic ofSerbia to ensure full implementation of the key reforms and legislation, particularly in judicial reform, the fight against corruption and organized crime, public administration reform, independence of institutions, media reform, non-discrimination and protection of minorities. Particular importance is attached to the harmonization of the dynamic of the negotiating process, i.e. a uniform progress on all chapters. This particularly refers to Chapter 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, freedom and security) where progress must follow the dynamic of other chapters. The above-stated procedure will also apply to issues within Chapter 35.

EU accession negotiations with Serbia formally commenced on 21 January 2014 in Brussels by the First Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) on Serbia's EU accession, where representatives of the EU and Serbia exchanged views, and the EU Negotiating Framework, the Negotiating Team of the Republic of Serbia and the IGC meetings calendar according to negotiating chapters were presented. IGC may meet in the political format, or at the technical or expert level.

An initial step preceding the opening of each of the 35 chapters is the so-called screening, i.e. scanning and analytical review of legislation in force in the Republic of Serbia in a certain area and the legislation applicable in the EU. The analytical analysis stage of legislation begins with the so-called explanatory screening within which the European Commission presents to the candidate country the EU acquis communautaire divided into negotiating chapters, while the level of conformity of the candidate country's legal system with the legal system of the EU is assessed through the so-called bilateral screening. Then, the discrepancies between the two legal systems and measures designed to overcome them are being identified, on the basis of which an implementation Action Plan is being drafted and its timescale defined.

Following the completion of bilateral screening meetings, the European Commission presents its Screening Report to the Member States, containing recommendations on the opening of negotiations for a particular chapter, and, possibly opening benchmarks.  The screening process for the Republic of Serbia lasted from September 2013 to late March 2015. Representatives of the European Commission have underlined that they are pleased with the screenings, for they demonstrated a high level of preparedness and commitment of the Serbian administration to the entire process, and to reforms.

Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs take an active part in the work of governmental bodies during the EU integration process.

The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs is a member of the Coordination Body, tasked with discussing major issues and coordinating tasks within the scope of the activity of public administrative authorities throughout the European integration process. The Coordination Body Council deals with the current issues that arise in the integration process. The State Secretary, in the capacity as Chairperson of the Negotiating Group on Ch.31, is a member of the Council on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs carries out the activities concerning Negotiating Group 31- Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also participates in the work of the following negotiating groups concerning Serbia-EU accession negotiations: Negotiating Group 23 - judiciary and fundamental rights; Negotiating Group 24 – justice, freedom and security; Negotiating Group 30 – external economic relations; Negotiating Group 34 – on institutions and Negotiating Group 35 – on other matters.

The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a member of the Serbian Negotiating Team, participating in the drafting of negotiating positions, and is in charge of conducting negotiations on all chapters and in all stages of negotiations. Moreover, representatives from the Permanent Mission of theRepublicofSerbiato the EU, serving as the Secretary and Vice-Secretary of the Inter-Governmental Conference, play an active role in the accession process and negotiations.

Learn more information about the EU integration:

EU Integration Process and Regional Cooperation

The Government of the Republic of Serbia has set EU membership as its top foreign-policy priority. Creating conditions for accession to the European Union has been understood as an extraordinary opportunity for the implementation of the necessary reforms in all areas of society, from education to judiciary. This will ensure a better quality of life for the citizens, and will secure further social and economic development in Serbia, in line with the fundamental values of the EU, that we recognized as our own.

The European Union, first envisaged as a community that strove, by way of promoting economic cooperation, to overcome the difficult legacy of the European past, managed to ensure a peaceful life for its Member States, as well as much better cooperation and more developed connections, the ideas that Serbia recognizes as the values to whose implementation it aspires.