With the adoption of the Communication on Enlargement in February 2018, the Commission envisaged a substantial change of approach towards the Western Balkans. Six initiatives have been defined to help meet the membership criteria. It soon turned out that EU members were not ready to accept the EC’s approach. Negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania in October 2019 were not opened due to the opposition of France, which then proposed a change in the methodology of conducting accession negotiations. In February 2020, the Commission proposed a new methodology for conducting negotiations, which would introduce the necessary changes in the accession process. The document envisions a more visible and stronger EU political engagement, emphasizing the essential rule of law importance in the accession process. It is now up to EU members to support the proposed changes and give impetus to enlargement. However, without political will within the EU, the pace of negotiations will not accelerate. Internal challenges within the EU itself are also slowing enlargement.

It is necessary to investigate whether the new Commission and the new methodology will lead to a change in the approach to enlargement (in the EU and in Serbia). The challenges facing Serbia are undefined political will and inadequate citizen awareness. Although European integration is officially a strategic goal of the Government, numerous indicators indicate insufficient commitment and openness of the process (slow pace of drafting and submitting negotiating positions, harmonization of legislation, departure of chief negotiator, etc.) about which there is no information in the mainstream media.

Civil society is an indispensable actor in the process that contributes to the establishment of a value system and standards in line with the EU. The existing mechanisms (NCEU and Pre-Agreement) are focused on specific policies in the accession process and act “from within” by influencing the Government. It is necessary to strategically monitor the enlargement process itself and analyze whether the necessary changes are taking place.

Overall objective is to contribute to the acceleration of the process of accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union.

Specific objectives are:

  1. To contribute to the improvement of policy-making and the process of harmonization of domestic policies and domestic legislation with the EU acquis in the accession process;
  2. To improve the capacity of civil society in Serbia for participating in the EU accession process;
  3. To improve the quality of information on the EU enlargement process;
  4. To increase the transparency of the activities of state bodies (pointing out shortcomings and successes in the work) and the EU accession process itself.

Estimated results:

  1. Guide with a methodological approach for comprehensive monitoring of the EU enlargement process with detailed areas of monitoring, indicators, methods, instruments and division of responsibilities between team members, developed;
  2. Detailed analysis in electronic and printed format;
  3. Conference organized on the occasion of the analysis presentation;
  4. Blog published on the EMinS website;
  5. Designed five (5) infographics with main conclusions and messages from the analysis.

Main activities:

  • Establishment of project infrastructure;
  • Development of a watch dog Enlargement monitor methodology;
  • Ex post analysis of the current dynamics of negotiations and results of Serbia achieved in the period 2014-2020, done according to the watch dog methodology;
  • Advocacy activities.

The project is financed by: Open Society Foundation

Duration: September 1st, 2020 – March 31st, 2021