Relations with the European Union

Accession to the European Union (EU) as the most important European integration with a single market of goods, capital, services and people is a strategic priority of the Republic of Serbia, while a reliable and efficient central bank is the strong support to Serbia in achieving this priority. 

Since the beginning of the European integration process, the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) has been an active member in all its stages, while adjustment of legal and institutional framework with EU criteria and standards is one of NBS priorities.

Serbia’s EU Stabilisation and Association Process

The first step made by Serbia on the EU integration path was the beginning of the Stabilisation and Association Process and the opening of the EU membership perspective.

Stabilisation and Association Process of our country formally commenced in 2000. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, on the one hand, and the Republic of Serbia, on the other, entered into force on 1 September 2013.

The gradual establishment of free trade area between Serbia and the EU and the adjustment of domestic regulations with the EU acquis represent the most important association goals

To monitor the SAA implementation, the NBS participates in the work of the bodies competent for the implementation:

  • Subcommittee for Internal Market and Competition, and
  • Subcommittee for Economic and Financial Issues, and Statistics.
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Serbia’s accession to the EU

Following the SAA’s entry into force, Serbia initiated EU accession negotiations.

The process formally started with the Intergovernmental Accession Conference on 21 January 2014. The negotiations are conducted under the EC-coordinated framework of intergovernmental conferences between Serbia on the one hand and EU member states on the other. In the 13 Intergovernmental Accession Conference meetings held so far (two of which after the European Council approved the new enlargement methodology), Serbia opened 22 chapters (18 of which before the new methodology was applied) and provisionally closed two chapters.

Given the significance and the role of a central bank in the negotiation process, the participation of NBS representatives is envisaged in all bodies of the Serbian coordination structure for the EU accession process.

After the EU Council (in conclusions of 25 March 2020) adopted a new EU enlargement methodology, Serbia adjusted its existing coordination structure to the requirements and principles of the new methodology. Within the redefined structure, negotiation chapters are organised into thematic clusters according to EU policy areas, hence, in addition to the Coordination for Conducting Negotiations on the Republic of Serbia’s Accession to the European Union and the Team for Support to Negotiations, the so-called negotiation clusters have also been formed within which negotiating groups can perform their assigned tasks.

As one of the central banks which has been most actively involved in this process, the NBS takes part in the work of 11 negotiating groups within the following clusters:

  • Cluster 1 – Fundamentals
    • Statistics (NG 18),
    • Financial controls (NG 32),
  • Cluster 2 – Internal market
    • Freedom of movement for workers (NG 2),
    • Right of establishment and freedom to provide services (NG 3),
    • Free movement of capital (NG 4),
    • Company law (NG 6),
    • Competition policy (NG 8),
    • Financial services (NG 9),
    • Consumer and health protection (NG 28),
  • Cluster 3 – Competitiveness and inclusive growth
    • Economic and monetary policy (NG 17),
  • Cluster 5 – Resources, agriculture and cohesion
    • Financial and budgetary provisions (NG 33).

As the need arises, the NBS also takes part in the work of other negotiating groups (NG 19 –Social policy and employment in Cluster 3 – Competitiveness and inclusive growth and NG 24 – Justice, freedom and security in Cluster 1 – Fundamentals).

As so far, the NBS chairs the NG for Financial Services and Economic and Monetary Policy, while it co-chairs the NG Free Movement of Capital. All of the listed negotiation chapters have been opened.

In addition to the leading role for the above chapters, the NBS also plays an important role in the work of other negotiating groups within the new coordination structure, particularly in NG 18 – Statistics, NG 28 – Consumer and health protection (area: Protection of financial services consumers) and NG 32 – Financial controls (area: Protection of the euro against counterfeiting).

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