Europeanisation meets democracy from below: The Western Balkans on the search for new European and democratic Momentum (WB2EU)

Rule of Law and Justice – Case Serbia, Djordje Popović, ÖGfE Policy Brief, 13’2021

Serbia in the year 2021 is a captured state with institutions completely under control of one party. With the ruling elites involved in serious cases of organised crime and corruption, in the situation where the opposition is shattered and fragmented and where the free independent media and civil society organisations are under constant pressure of the government it is very difficult to speak about the EU integration process and the developed system of the rule of law. It seems that the Serbian ruling elites are not very interested in the European values and on the other hand the European Union can do more in conditioning further accession with full implementation of the rule of law and parliamentary democracy. This Policy Brief will discuss several examples of the dire situation in the field of rule of law in Serbia and also offer some policy recommendations for overcoming it in the future.

Policy Recommendations

  1. The legal framework and practice regarding elections, the election campaigns, oversight and funding of the campaigns in Serbia need to be improved.
  2. Law enforcement agencies must start working together to fight organised crime, money laundering and other forms of serious crime. Furthermore, they should focus on preventing connections of organised criminal groups with politicians and political organisations.
  3. All the amendments of the Constitution, although very necessary as well as a step forward in EU enlargement negotiations (Chapter 23), must be put on hold until democratic and fair elections can take place and return legitimacy to the Serbian Parliament.
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The Policy Brief is published in the framework of the WB2EU project. The project aims at the establishment of a network of renowned think-tanks, do-tanks, universities, higher education institutes and policy centres from the Western Balkans, neighbouring countries and EU member states that will be most decisive for the enlargement process and Europeanisation of the region in the upcoming years. The WB2EU project is co-funded by the European Commission under its Erasmus+ Jean Monnet programme.

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