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Parliamentary questions
31 August 2011
E-006694/2011
Answer given by Mr Füle on behalf of the Commission

The Commission closely monitors the respect of the rule of law in Serbia. Allegations of certain provisions of the Serbian Criminal Code, in particular Article 359, violating EU standards were brought to the Commission's attention. Article 359 of the Criminal Code renders abuse of office in both the public and the private sector, a criminal offence. While the term ‘abuse of office’ is neither defined nor further regulated in the EU acquis, there are Member States who have provisions similar to Serbian Article 359. This includes the broad definition of an offence and its coverage of the private sector. However, a working group preparing draft changes to the Serbian Criminal Code is currently reviewing Article 359.

The Commission, within the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Process, will continue to monitor any future developments in the rule of law area and particularly possible changes to the Criminal Code. As announced in the 2010‑11 Enlargement Strategy Paper, a dialogue on rule of law was launched. This will automatically use monitoring tools such as peer assessment missions. It will ensure the provision of appropriate advice to enlargement countries on rule of law-related issues.

In its upcoming Opinion on the Serbian application for EU membership, the Commission will report on all relevant aspects of the Copenhagen criteria. These include respect for rule of law and property rights.

The Commission has repeatedly outlined certain shortcomings within the Serbian legislative framework. This creates uncertainty in relation to property rights and affects the investment climate negatively. It also includes lacking a clear solution to the outstanding question of property restitution nationalised under the communist regime. The Commission urged the Serbian authorities on every possible occasion.

OJ C 128 E, 03/05/2012
Last updated: 3 October 2011Legal notice