European commission`s questionnaire
After Serbia submitted its application for membership in the European Union on 22 December 2009, and the European Commission (EC) adopted the decision on forwarding it to the EU on 25 October 2010, on 24 November 2010 the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule delivered to Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković the Questionnaire of the European Commission sent in order to prepare the avis on Serbia’s application for EU membership. Preparation of answers to this document, which contains 2,483 questions and sub-questions, divided into six annexes and 33 chapters, started the same day, with a meeting organized by the European Integration Office with relevant ministries.
At the meeting held on 27 January, the Serbian government adopted the answers to the Questionnaire, which Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković handed over to Commissioner Stefan Fule on Monday, 31 January. The answers were adopted after they were previously discussed also by the Committee for European Integration of the National Assembly and the Council for European Integration.
The Questionnaire is a formal instrument through which the EU assesses the readiness of states to begin the process of accession. Based on the replies, the Commission drafts an Opinion (Avis) on whether the country is ready for candidate status, and whether it is ready for the next phase - defining the framework date for accession talks, which is decided by consensus by the EU member states. At the same time the European Commission may make recommendations to Serbia to set a date for initiating membership negotiations.
Bearing in mind the importance of the Questionnaire, or the impact of the quality of responses on future negotiations with the EC, it is of extreme importance that the answers are formulated concisely and clearly, with accurate and verifiable date, and that they comply with the policies and regulations of the state - potential candidate and the European Union.
Responses should provide precise information about the country, from the respect for political and economic criteria, to the extent of compliance with EU legislation, as well as information on institutional and administrative capacities necessary for the acceptance and implementation of European standards in each of the 35 negotiating chapters.
In order to answer the Questionnaire, way back in 2007 Serbia formed an inter-administrative structure with 35 working groups corresponding to the structure of the Questionnaire, whose work is coordinated by the European Integration Office.
In order to prepare for this task, the Serbian administration had already responded to 85 percent of the questions in the Questionnaire, which were also sent to Montenegro and Albania.
In addition, the Government adopted a Conclusion that allows the delegation of more experts to the Mission of Serbia to the EU, thus initiating preparations for future negotiations.
It is very important that Serbia had answered the questions relating to Kosovo and Metohija on the basis of the Constitution, under which Kosovo is an integral part of Serbia, bearing in mind that the responsibility for reform in KiM is not carried out by the Serbian Government, which is a formula that is also applied in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the Agreement on trade in textiles with the EU and other agreements.
European Commission`s Questionnaire can be downloaded here.