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European Commission Report on Serbia’s progress should stimulate the implementation of anti-corruption laws

The organisation Transparency - Serbia considers that the latest European Commission report on Serbia’s progress clearly shows that the disrespect for the role of anti-corruption institutions by the executive power and the lack of a national anti-corruption plans present not only a problem to successfully fighting corruption but also to a faster progress in joining the EU. Taking the diplomatic tone and the limited space of the EU reports into account, observations tend to be very mild and limited to the country’s legal and institutional framework. By our belief the reports do not respect enough the extent of corruption in Serbia.

The only successes stated in the field of anti-corruption are the adoption of the Law on the Anti-corruption Agency, to be implemented in more than a year; the ratification of conventions, with nothing done so far on implementation; the submission of a GRECO report; and the establishment of special units dealing with investigations of corruption as part of the prosecutor’s office and the police forces.

The report states that „results of the fight against corruption were limited in practice“, and the explicitly stated reasons are: the lack of data in the reports on the financing of political parties; the great number of officials which in spite of their legal obligation do not submit reports on their properties; the refusal of the government to secure the implementation of the Commissioner for Information’s decisions; the weaknesses of the Action Plan for the implementation of a national anti-corruption strategy and the lack of resources available for its implementation; the inappropriate conditions for the work of the State Audit Institution, the Commission for Protection of Rights, the Public Procurement Office and the Ombudsman; as well as the lack of capacities of the investigative organs.

Especially worrying is the fact that, not only in the last year, our organisation pointed out all mentioned problems and possible solutions – as well as representatives of some independent institutions. If these indications from Belgrade would have been more respected in the past, the evaluation of Brussels would have probably been different.

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