SERBIA
     
Change comes from people. DONAUWANDEL, an open society initiative and formed to create the right opportunities, time and space for everyone involved to exchange ideas, hopes, insights and experiences, enables everyone involved to meet each other, to communicate, to share and learn together. The created open and encouraging environment for sustainability will help all participants to realise their potential, talents and experience and together make the right things happen in the right places and hopes to foster bottom up projects and initiatives to deliver sustainable development in many areas both small and large, in many different countries involving people of all ages and backgrounds

Part of the wandel is 'Visioning the future community in Serbia'. The travelers will cross Serbia during three weeks in July 2013. They want to find out how future communities and society as a hole will work together. They will visit prehistorical sights from 5000 years ago, see how monasteries worked over the last thousand years and how rural villages developed sustainable income through innovative approaches. Forethinkers will give their ideas for future trends. While perceiving that the team form their own ideas about future living. They will elaborate different living situations and discuss their findings with people on the way. Teams will be inspired by future visions and implement these in their own projects. At the end of the Serbian journey the participants will meet up with the teams of Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova and discuss the results of the Serbian journey. During the journey theater coaches will accompany part of the journey to perform the future visions with impro theater, that way it will become much more authentic and visible.

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January 21, 2014, was the day of the official opening of the accession negotiations with Serbia, which marks an important achievement for Serbia's efforts to join the European Union and opens a new chapter in relationship. Serbia's progress – in particular on normalisating relations with Kosovo – over the past twelve months has been impressive. This allowed in December the European Council to give green light to today's official opening of the negotiations. Furthermore, the importance of maintaining the commitment and political focus on the implementation of all aspects of the Agreement with Kosovo was stressed. The European Union expects that both sides continue to work and progress on the normalisation of their relations, so that the changes on the ground become part of the everyday life.

In this new phase of the bilateral relations, it was also underlined that it is essential to continue paying particular attention to the rule of law, notably the reform of the judiciary, and the fight against corruption and organised crime.

European Integration Office

Government of the Republic of Serbia

 

 

During the public debate 'Ever closer Balkan', former President of the Republic of Serbia, Boris Tadic lectured on regional cooperation and European integration, 21 February 2013. Before being allowed to be part of the ‘Ever closer Union’, Serbia must first fulfil the EU condition to improve regional cooperation with its neighbouring countries in the Balkan. Serbia plays a key role in addressing regional issues such as on transport and infrastructure, energy shortages and cross-border criminal activities. Progress on the political challenges inherited from the past seems more difficult.

The former president of Serbia, Boris Tadic, put great effort into building trust and stability in the region. While a pragmatic approach focusing on economic growth can be applied to highways and agriculture, there are also more sensitive, political issues. How can Serbia further improve the difficult relations with Kosovo? Will the leaders of these neighbouring countries be able to find a solution to the frozen conflict? What can Serbia do to contribute to the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

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Serbia Can Expect 'Conditional' EU Talks Start Date. Brussels is likely to reward Serbia for normalising relations with Kosovo with a 'conditional' start date for accession talks, sources told Balkan Insight. In its April report, the European Commission is likely to recommend that Serbia be granted a conditional start date for EU accession talks in June, Balkan Insight has learned from two independent sources. The conditional date would oblige Serbia to bridge a divide with Kosovo over the future of Serbian-financed institutions in northern Kosovo before it can open negotiations, one source explained
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On Wednesday 20 February 2013, the Serbian and Kosovo prime ministers, Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci, failed to iron out their differences on the Serb-run north of Kosovo - but pledged to keep talking. The talks are due to resume on March 4. Kosovo wants Serbia to dismantle its so-called "parallel" structures in the north, while Serbia wants to see broader autonomy offered for all Serb-populated areas in Kosovo first. Since the end of the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, the region has been beyond the Kosovo government's control, while Serbia has continued to finance local security, judicial, health and educational institutions. Kosovo describes the north as an “oasis of organized crime”, accusing Serbia of obstructing the integration of the area.
Meanwhile, Serbian officials, including deputy prime ministers Aleksandar Vucic and Suzana Grubjesic, and Milica Delevic, head of Serbia's parliamentary Committee on EU Integration, travelled to Berlin on Wednesday to talk to German officials and especially Bundestag members on Serbia's readiness to begin talks and of their willingness to "normalise" relations with Kosovo. The support of German parliamentarians is crucial because the Bundestag must first sign off the deal before Germany can agree to an opening of EU accession talks.
Serbian Orthodox church
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said after meeting Vucic on Wednesday that Germany supported Serbia's EU hopes but will not give up on its set criteria. Niklaus von Lambsdorff, Germany's special envoy for the Balkans, said on Wednesday that while all attention was now focused on the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, this was not the only thing on the agenda.  "Serbia has a whole range of reforms to do," he said. However, EU sources indicated that Brussels wants to reward Serbia for investing efforts in the Kosovo issue.

Since the Serbian Progressive Party took power in Serbia following May 2012 elections, talks with Kosovo have been raised to a higher level and the two countries have appointed liaison officers. They have also started implementing earlier agreed deals.  EU-mediated talks between Serbia and Kosovo started in March 2011, three years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Serbia has vowed never to recognise Kosovo as a state, but says it is open to deals that improve daily lives on both sides of the [from Serbia's point of view unrecognised] border. So far, the two sides have reached deals on freedom of movement, university diplomas, regional representation, customs, liaison officers, and on trade.

In December, EU foreign ministers said they would not recommend a date for talks until they saw more signs of progress in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. After the European Commission presents its report on the issue on April 16, the Council will decide on June 28 whether to give Serbia a start date or not.

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10 November 2011 Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic (*) lectured on the road to EU membership and expressed confidence that Belgrade would make progress in solving the problems in Kosovo and Metohija and urged the Dutch parliamentarians to ratify the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). Addressing the Committee for European Affairs of the Dutch parliament, Djelic said that the interruption of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is the main difficulty in European integration, but stressed that Serbia will make progress in this field. He said that Belgrade would soon set out specific proposals relating to improvements in everyday life of citizens in Kosovo. Serbia is willing to talk about more sensitive issues, too, he said. Djelic pointed to the difficult situation in the province, and to the fact that Serbs are being killied there almost every week. The problems in Kosovo were not caused by Belgrade, Djelic said and added that the solution must be sought at the negotiating table.

Djelic urged members of the Committee for European Affairs of the Dutch Parliament to ratify the Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia as soon as possible and expressed his expectation that the Netherlands will vote for Serbia to be granted EU candidate status at the session of the European Council in December.

This is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the Dutch policy 'strict but fair', Djelic said. Earlier Thursday in The Hague, Djelic had meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz.

Accession to the European Union remains Serbia’s strategic orientation which rests on a wide political and social consensus. The road to EU is seen as a road to a more modern society, a stable democracy with a developed economy, while political and economic requirements set by the European Union – since they coincide with preconditions for a successful political and economic transformation – are viewed as means instead of an end to development. This way, the accession to the European Union assumes success in relation to requirements for development and stability, along with simultaneous expansion of the peaceful and democratic European territory.

The process of our country’s accession to the European Union formally began in 2001. On October 13, 2004 the National Assembly adopted the Resolution on Accession to the European Union. The Stabilization and Accession Agreement and the Transitional Commercial Agreement were signed on April 29, 2008 in Brussels and were ratified by the National Assembly on September 9, 2008.
Since February 1, 2009 Serbia has been unilaterally implementing the Transitional Commercial Agreement which was freed up by EU in December the same year. On June 14 2010 the European Union Council of Ministers decided to also free up the process of ratification of the Stabilization and Accession Agreement. On January 19, 2011, the European Parliament ratified the Stabilization and Accession Agreement. In December 2010, President of the Republic of Serbia submitted the request for membership at the European Union

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When the Rules of Procedure were amended on May 30, 2003, the National Assembly established the European Integrations Committee. After the disintegration of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, the National Assembly assumed the competences of the former Assembly of Serbia and Montenegro related to European integrations. Thus, the European Integrations Department was established.

With the arrival of the Serbs to the Balkans in the 7th century, several medieval states were formed, which evolved into the Serbian Empire in the 14th century and was established in 1346 by Dušan the Mighty, during which time Serbia reached its territorial, spiritual and cultural peak, becoming one of the most powerful states in Europe and the most powerful in the Balkans. Dušan's Code, a universal system of laws and constitution, was enacted. The reign of his son Tsar Stefan Uroš V saw the Serbian Empire fragment into a confederation of principalities. Tsar Uroš died childless in December 1371, after much of the Serbian nobility had been destroyed by the Turks in the Battle of Maritsa earlier that year.
The royal Houses of Mrnjavčević, Lazarević and Branković ruled the Serbian lands in the 15th and 16th centuries. Constant struggles took place between various Serbian kingdoms and the Ottoman Empire. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 and the Siege of Belgrade, the Serbian Despotate fell in 1459 following the siege of the provisional capital of Smederevo.
After repelling Ottoman attacks for over 70 years, Belgrade finally fell in 1521, opening the way for Ottoman penetration into Central Europe.

Battle of Nándorfehérvár, Hungarian painting from the 19. century. In the middle Giovanni da Capistrano with the cross in his hand.
By the 16th century, Serbia was conquered and occupied by the Ottoman Empire, at times interrupted by the Habsburgs. In the early 19th century the Serbian revolution re-established the country as the region's first constitutional monarchy, which subsequently expanded its territory and pioneered the abolition of feudalism in the Balkans. The former Habsburg crownland of Vojvodina united with Serbia in 1918. Following World War I, Serbia formed Yugoslavia with other South Slavic peoples which existed in several forms up until 2006, when Serbia regained its independence. In February 2008 the parliament of UNMIK-governed Kosovo, Serbia's southern province, declared independence, with mixed responses from international governments.

Serbia is a member of the UN, Council of Europe, Partnership for Peace, Organisation of the black Sea Economic Cooperation and CEFTA.

(*) resigned as the EU summit decided not to give the Balkan country candidate status for the time being.