PLAC Project - Towards Full Alignment of Legislation with the EU

28. November 2016. | Belgrade

The Legal Support for Negotiations project (PLAC II), worth EUR 2.6 million, will help Serbia to align regulations with the EU acquis until the end of 2018, in line with the timeframe set by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, stated Ms. Ksenija Milenković, the Acting Director of the European Integration Office, on 24 November. This timeframe, as she pointed out, should not be confused with the possible date of accession, which depends on circumstances and policies.

PLAC project (PLAC II) was presented in the National Assembly building in Belgrade to potential beneficiaries, such as members of working groups dealing with specific chapters. This project will last from 30 June until the end of 2018, with the allocation of EUR 2.6 million, which will be spent primarily on the working hours of experts who are supposed to assist Serbia in the alignment of regulations with the EU, preparation of plans for achieving compliance, but also in building capacities for development and implementation of legislation.

As it was said at the meeting, the project covers areas in which Serbia does not have sufficient bilateral assistance from the Member States or EU aid in other forms of cooperation.

Ms. Milenković said that the PLAC project (PLAC II) supports the basic activity of European integration − the adoption and implementation of European regulations.

“EU integration is frequently perceived domestically as a political process, which is true, and the decision of the EU on opening and provisional closure, and one day soon on membership, is a political decision, even if it concerns technical chapters”, she said, adding that a huge amount of work has been invested by all institutions involved in adapting regulations to the EU acquis.
Ms. Milenković reminded that the Second Revised National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis was adopted on 17 November, and that the document stipulates that all regulations should be aligned with the EU acquis by the end of 2018, noting that this goal should not be confused with a possible date of accession to the EU.

Ms. Tanja Miščević, the Head of the Negotiating Team for Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union, said that the key feature of this project is flexibility, as it allows for assistance in the preparation of regulations and accession documents in areas that unexpectedly come into focus.

As a concrete example, she cited Chapter 13 on fisheries, which “suddenly became significant”, and, according to her, it turned out that the project assists Serbia to respond quickly to requests in such circumstances.

She reminded that Serbia has used PLAC projects earlier, since negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement opened, and that this is the second PLAC project since the opening of the accession negotiations.
“PLAC 2, whose application begins today, is aimed at helping us understand not only how to write negotiating positions and action plans, but also what this brings to us,” she said.

This is the second PLAC project since the opening of accession negotiations with the EU, and the second one financed from IPA funds. The project aims at improving compliance of national legislation with the EU acquis and implementation of regulations, and also at enhancing the capacities of institutions to conduct negotiations.

Mr. Oscar Benedict, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, said that the period during which the PLAC project will be implemented is of key significance for Serbia’s European integration process due to the fact that four chapters have been opened and that acceleration is expected.

He continued by stating that the PLAC project may not be “visible” to the general public, but it is essential for the “machinery” which is working on the country’s entry into the EU.

Ms. Mojca Grošelj, Team leader of the Legal Support for Negotiations project said that the project, worth EUR 2.6 million, was launched on 30 June 2016 and that will last until the end of December of 2018.

Compared to the previous version of the PLAC project, the logo has changed and, in Serbian, the project is now called Legal Support for Negotiations (Pravna podrška pregovorima) in order to reflect the essence of the project, namely its main activity.

She named the chapters the project will mostly deal with: 3 − Freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services, 4 − Free movement of capital, 6 − Company law, 9 - Financial services, 11 − Agriculture and rural development, 12 −Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy, 15 − Energy, 24 −Justice, freedom and security, 27 − Environment and 28 − Consumer and health protection
 
According to the stated, it is possible to include other areas in case of need.  

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