30. Sep 2013.

Meeting of The Environment working group

Working group The Environment, part of National Convent on European Union, held the sitting in the National Assembly of Republic of Serbia. The topic was (Un)ability of CSO participating in Republic of Serbia’s negotiations process with the EU in field of environment (Negotiating chapter 27) -significance of participating and obstacles.

Miroslav Tadić, secretary of an expert group on negotiating chapter 27 in Ministry of Energy, Development, and Environmental Protection, Jelena Krstić, on behalf of Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, Ljubinka Kaluđerović from Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, Mirko Popović from Belgrade Open School and Zorica Isoski, director of Aurora Green Ltd, spoke about on conditions and assumptions of CSO participation in negotiation process. Dragoljub Todić, researcher in Institute of International Politics and Economics, have been internal expert of working group, while the moderator of the meeting was Ivan Knežević, deputy of Secretary General of European Movement in Serbia.       

At the meeting were presented procedures of which negotiation process is consisted of and tasks which Serbia should fulfill. A group of activities includes document preparation, while other group includes procedure and working group structure establishing, and also the way they would function, said Miroslav Tadić. Besides that, he also presented the project implemented by Ministry with support of Swedish Government with aim of providing necessary help and support through whole negotiation process.

In his presentation, Dragoljub Todić said that the most important topics in negotiation process are transparency of the procedure and deadlines. According to him, negotiations are for definition of deadlines for certain regulation implementation. However, procedure transparency is inseparable from the transitional deadlines, because that is the way to overview implications of the obligations and delaying deadlines for regulations implementation, respectively assuming the obligations. He also reminded of the problem of lack of analysis of the effects of laws and regulations, and question of costs of implementing regulations.

Jelena Krstić, representing Office for cooperation with civil society, claims that civil society will be involved in negotiation process, but the question is, in what way. She reminded of the role and activities of the Office so far, that aimed to support continuity of cooperation between civil and governmental sector, through raising capacities and establishing channels for communication between civil society and relevant ministries.

When it comes to assessment of civil society’s, local self-governments’ and business community’s capacity for participating in negotiation process, there were divisions of attitudes on those topics among participants. Some participants consider that is necessary raising of capacities of all levels, including governmental, so the process should result adequate and sustainable changes within the system, which is subject to harmonization with European standards end regulations. Other group, however, claims that there is lack of capacity primary in civil sector and that caution it necessary in deciding how public should be involved in negotiation process.

Working group The Environment keeps its basic function – forum for public discussion on the most important or neglected reform questions on the way toward the EU, but also a mechanism for defining recommendations and suggestions from civil society and business sector to decision-makers. During October 2013, internal expert of the working group will finalize conclusions from the meeting, which will serve as a base for recommendations for decision-makers, in context of civil society participation in negotiation process in the chapter 27.  

European Movement in Serbia, in cooperation with Belgrade Open School Center for civil society development PROTECTA, UNECOOP organization, and with support of Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade, is implementing project Know how to act. The project aims to

Foster civil society in environmental decision making on the local in process of European integration. Important part of the project is organization of meeting of National convent on EU- working group The environment.

The text is taken from the webiste of Europen Movement in Serbia www.emins.org.