EU says Serbia’s justice reform is crucial

European Union officials told the Serbian government that reform of the justice system was crucial if Belgrade is to reach the rule-of-law standards required for membership.

Speaking to Serbian lawmakers who were visiting Brussels on Tuesday in the hope of boosting the country’s chances of securing a date for EU membership talks, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for Serbia, Jelko Kacin, said that “justice reform needs to be put at the forefront”.

“This is a central question for the current and next government,” said Kacin, adding that after receiving a date for accession talks, Belgrade will have to begin negotiations on chapters 23 and 24 of EU legislation, which are dedicated to the rule of law and human rights.

Serbian justice minister Nikola Selakovic, who was part of Belgrade’s delegation to Brussels, blamed the former administration that lost elections last year, saying that “the previous government destroyed the Serbian justice system”.

“Drafts of the new strategy for justice reform will be send to parliament for adoption later this month,” Selakovic promised.

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