EU to Fault Serbia’s Justice Reforms

The EU’s assessment of Serbia’s judicial reforms will not be positive, said the Serbian Minister of Justice after his meeting with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement.After his meeting in Brussels on Monday, the Serbian Justice Minister, Nikola Selakovic, said that the EU supports Serbia’s judicial reform programme, but is unlikely to assess the reforms that have been implemented so far in a positive light.

“Unfortunately, we cannot expect positive feedback at present, as 90 per cent of the reforms that have been implemented so far were brought in by the previous government, and we will be assessed on those,“ Selakovic said.

The EU progress report, due in October, will review how Serbia complies with the EU membership criteria.

Stefan Fule, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, said that Serbia is expected to maintain a strong focus on the rule of law.

“How to expedite judicial reforms, and increase the effectiveness of the fight against corruption and organised crime are essential questions which Serbia will have to answer before there can be further progress towards EU membership,” said Fule.

Fule also stressed that, following the recent rulings of the Constitutional Court, the Commission expects the Serbian government to devise a new strategy for the reform its judiciary, based on a functional review.

“As a candidate country, Serbia is expected to align its Justice and Public Administration sectors fully with the EU Acts,” he added.

On Tuesday, Selakovic met the European Parliament’s rapporteur for Serbia, Jelko Kacin, to discuss the on-going reinstatement of judges and prosecutors, who were fired during the 2010 judicial reforms.

“Establishing an independent judiciary is a key challenge for this government. It must deal systematically with the reappointment of judges and prosecutors, and secure their independence, “ said Kacin.

“We will closely monitor the implementation of the reforms by the Ministry. The faltering progress of judicial reforms must be addressed soon so that Serbia can make concrete steps towards EU membership, once Chapters 23 and 24 are opened,” Kacin concluded.

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