One of the important recommendations of the European Commission for the process of developing the Economic Reform Programme (ERP) and the Employment and Social Reform Programme (ESRP) is greater involvement of civil society both in the drafting phase and in the monitoring phase of the implementation of economic and social reforms – was concluded from today’s meeting of representatives of the National Convention on the European Union with representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Public Policy Secretariat and representatives of civil society organizations. The topic of the meeting was the Preliminary List of Priority Structural Reforms, part of the new Economic Reform Programme 2018-2020, which is being drafted.
Jasna Atanasijević, acting Director of the Public Policy Secretariat, explained to the participants which is the criteria of the European Commission that is taken into account during the selecting priority structural reforms. There are a few criteria, necessary to satisfy: feasibility, the actuality of the problems that are being addressed, as well as the criterion of the existence of financial resources in the state budget, which can be used for the purpose of implementing the reform. In addition to the criteria of the European Union, it is necessary for reform to be already in one of the strategies or some other strategic document. Also, Jasna stressed that the implementation of structural reforms often lasts more than a year, which is the reason for the repetition of a large number of structural reforms from the ERP 2017-2019. Precisely, because of the nature of structural reforms and the duration of the entire process, ERP is a rolling process.
Nataša Dragojlović, Coordinator of the National Convention on the European Union, pointed out that for civil society an important issue is the methodology of selecting new structural reforms. Also, Nataša recommended that in addition to expert analyzes, which define public policy measures in the framework of priority structural reforms, the practice of more frequent consultations with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and civil society organizations is introduced.
Nataša Vučković, Coordinator of the NKEU Working Group for negotiation chapters 2 and 19, made a remark from civil society organizations that are members of the mentioned Working Group on the order of priority structural reforms. Namely, the NCEU Working Group for Chapters 2 and 19 gained the impression that the topics of social policy and employment are the least important given that they have found themselves in the last place.
Jasna Atanasijević emphasized the importance of involving citizens and representatives of the economy in the process of adopting strategic documents of the Republic of Serbia because precisely from them the priority structural reforms become. She emphasized that the process does not end with the formulation of the list of priority structural reforms, but that the most important stage is the implementation of reforms, both at the central level and at the local level, which is why civil society organizations are an inevitable partner to the Government of the Republic of Serbia.