Serbian police officials learn about Croatia’s EU integration experiences
On 30-31 October 2013, a high-level delegation of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia (MoI) visited their colleagues in Zagreb, with the aim of learning about Croatia’s experience and lessons learned during their eight-year EU accession process, particularly with regards to meeting the requirements for EU membership in the area of the rule of law.
The visit was organized under the auspices of the a broader UNDP programme aimed at sharing Croatia’s EU accession experience with other countries in the region and which offers the assistance of its Advisors to countries in the region as they work towards the EU accession.
In the light of the approaching start of negotiations between the Republic of Serbia and the European Union on Chapter 24 of the EU acquis communautaire, which covers Justice, Freedom and Security, UNDP informed the decision makers of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia (MOI) about the possible means of assistance and befits offered through the above mentioned UNDP’s regional programme.
Initially, UNDP facilitated a series of meetings between the high ranking officials of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia and UNDP’s Senior Regional Advisor on the Rule of Law, Mr. Filip Dragović - former Croatian assistant Minister of Interior.
Building on Mr. Dragovic's work, a study visit was organized for the members of the MOI Working group in charge of the Chapter 24 in the European Union (EU) accession process, designed to provide them with further technical support in their efforts to prepare for the upcoming negotiation.
The delegation consisted of 15 Serbian officials responsible for negotiations on Chapter 24, including Zoran Golubović, advisor to the General Police Director and Bogoljub Živković, Assistant General Police Director. Presentations held during the study visit focused on the experiences of the Croatian Ministry of Interior and State Attorney’s Office in the areas of the Internal Control Service, External Borders and Schengen, Asylum and Migration, Organized Crime and Corruption, Terrorism, and the Fight against Drugs. Croatian speakers included Mladen Pemper on terrorism, Dalibor Jurić on police cooperation, and Krešimir Sikavica and Nataša Đurović on organized crime and corruption.
The visit was jointly organized by the UNDP in partnership with the Croatian Ministry of Interior and the Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
In June 2013, the EU decided to open accession negotiations with Serbia, and the explanatory screening process (a chapter-by-chapter review of Serbia’s status vis-à-vis the acquis) has been completed. The study visit to Zagreb was timed to coincide with preparations for the bilateral screening process for Chapter 24. The coming months will be busy for Serbia as these activities will be followed by the European Commission’s adoption of a framework for accession negotiations and the holding of the first intergovernmental conference no later than in January 2014.