The environment and climate change were the focus of the EU-Serbia Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC)'s meeting in Belgrade

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It is essential to involve civil society in the transition to an inclusive green economy

The last meeting of the EU-Serbia Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) took place on the 3 October in Belgrade. The JCC's  members discussed the current state of play and the work ahead in Serbia's accession negotiations to the EU. Since the last JCC meeting, Serbia has opened Chapter 7 (Intellectual property law) and Chapter 29 (Customs union), which brings the number of chapters open to ten. The JCC encouraged the Serbian authorities to continue working on ensuring the respect for the rule of law, fundamental rights, judicial reform and the fight against corruption. It also emphasized that civil society organisations (CSOs) are an important partner for the government in the accession process and play an essential democratic role. The participants in the meeting praised the positive developments regarding respect for minority rights in Serbia and expressed hope that this positive trend would continue in the future. On other hand, the JCC calls upon the Serbian Government and the EU institutions to send a strong, unequivocal political message that autonomy of journalists and freedom of the press are fundamental prerequisites of a democratic society.

EU standards in the area of environment

The JCC believes that the much-needed changes to production and consumption make it essential to involve CSOs throughout the transition to an inclusive green economy at all levels. The JCC calls on responsible stakeholders for air quality monitoring, including those on the local level, to ensure that the measuring system is well maintained and that data are made available. In the water management sector, the JCC stresses the need for urgent adoption of the most relevant national documents and the completion of important environmental infrastructure projects. The JCC calls for improved cooperation between institutions and civil society organizations in the field of nature protection. The Serbian authorities should take immediate steps to comply with the Industrial Emissions Directive.

EU standards in the area of climate change

More should be invested, at EU level and in Serbia, in new methods of production and consumption connected to the functional economy, such as product eco-design, energy efficiency measures, renewable energy, the circular economy, the collaborative economy and the economy for the common good. The Serbian authorities need to develop National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) and fully align it with the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, as well as the EU 2050 Roadmap. Following the ratification of the Paris Agreement, the JCC calls upon Serbian authorities to focus on accelerating its implementation. The JCC invites Serbian authorities to develop projects that support a real greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction and build the country’s resilience to climate impact in order to access funding from EU, regional and other international donors.