In view of the fact that one third of all EU legislation is environment related, Chapter 27 presents one of the most complex chapters in negotiations with the EU.
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Although it has been appraised that the regulations and standards relating to environmental protection have been adequately implemented into Serbian legislation, a unanimous opinion is that the biggest problem is their implementation in practice. For this reason, the implementation plan of large directives is crucial, and it has been prepared and presented in the form of a post-screening document for Chapter 27.
This document contains answers to questions presented by the European Commission during the screening process and at the same time it presents a plan of development of the environmental protection sector over the next 20 years. The three key "weak points" of harmonization with the EU in the area of environmental protection which stand out are financing, administrative capacities and education of the general public.
The initial step for the improvement of these provisions is the adoption of the new Law on Environmental Protection which is expected to take place in September. The law will make possible the forming of a Green Fund, which will help establish a more efficient system of environmental protection funding.
Local self-governments will have an extremely important role in the process of harmonization, bearing in mind that 60 percent of the regulations are implemented on the local level. Accordingly, it will be necessary to put in place a constructive and on-going dialogue between the central and local government levels in order to enable local self-governments to construct capacities for the application and implementation of laws in these field.
Environmental protection presents a comprehensive issue, a particular challenge for Serbian economy. A successful implementation of regulations means that business entities, if they wish to survive on the market and be competitive, will have to adapt their production and activity to a contemporary method of operations. This entails the introduction of energy efficiency and raw materials efficiency, intensified controls of waste streams, transferring to clean technologies, introduction of new standards, which, in turn, requires again serious planning and investment.
Therefore, apparently, the environment will probably be the most current topic of discussion at the forthcoming EU negotiations procedure. According to the competent Ministry, the preparing of a post-screening document has not been the practice in negotiation processes, particularly in countries of the Western Balkans. Serbia was, thereby, enabled to open Chapter 27 with no conditions, i.e. norms to be observed for opening a chapter.