2013 Report

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT SERBIA 2013 PROGRESS REPORT
Accompanying the document
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2013-2014 {COM(2013) 700 final}

1.4. Normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo (page 5)

On IBM, joint interim crossing points have been opened on all six border gates and are up and
running. December’s agreement on the protection of religious and cultural heritage sites is being  mplemented. Implementation of the agreement on liaison arrangements started in June.
The two sides have also agreed to start collecting customs duties and to set up a fund for the development of northern Kosovo…
Direct high-level contacts and regular contacts at operational level continue to facilitate  ooperation, e.g. in the fight against organised crime…

2.3. Regional issues and international obligations (pages 11, 13)

…A joint contact centre for police and customs cooperation was opened in December…

4.7. Chapter 7: Intellectual property law (page 25)

…The customs administration introduced a web application for electronic exchange of information with right holders. Seizures of counterfeit goods decreased over the reporting period…

…There is still no formal coordination mechanism between the institutions in charge of IPR protection. Implementation of the national IPR strategy and action plan 2011-2015 has been delayed…

…The participation of economic operators and consumers in the prevention of counterfeiting and piracy remains limited…

Conclusion
Limited progress was made in the area of intellectual property law. Enforcement was improved, although formal coordination between stakeholders and effective implementation of the national IPR strategy remain to be ensured. The changes to the law on copyright regarding fee collection and exemptions constitute a step backwards in alignment to the EU acquis. Overall, alignment in the area of intellectual property law is advanced.

4.24. Chapter 24: Justice, freedom and security (pages 49, 50, 52)

…In the area of external borders and Schengen, the Integrated Border Management (IBM) strategy was revised in November to enhance the capacity of the coordination body for its implementation. Serbia has continued to improve the infrastructure and equipment at border crossing points by completing the installation of an immigration and case management system and increasing operational field equipment (special cameras, scanners, fingerprint capturing devices and detection devices)…Operational coordination between border police, customs and phytosanitary services needs to be improved. The connectivity of the databases from and to the biometric devices needs to be enhanced in order to support the operations of the Border Police. Analytical, communication, procedural, training and technical capabilities need to be strengthened in order to effectively counter irregular migration. Human resources’ risk analysis capacities need to be enhanced….

…Overall, Serbia continues to be moderately advanced on border management…

…As regards cooperation in the field of drugs, a new strategy for the period 2013-2020 has yet to be finalised…The country is on the main Balkans drug trafficking routes and continued and sustained efforts are needed by all involved law enforcement relevant agencies, including the customs administration, to detect and seize narcotics at the borders…
Overall, Serbia is moderately advanced regarding cooperation in the field of drugs.

Concerning customs cooperation (See also Chapter 29 — Customs union), Serbia’s customs administration engaged in joint cases with agencies from neighbouring countries and continues to take an active part in international activities concerning the fight against illegal trade in goods such as narcotics, oil and cigarettes and cross-border movement control.

However, Serbia still needs to align its legal framework with EU legislation on the use of technology for customs purposes. Overall, Serbia is moderately advanced regarding the cooperation in the field of customs.

4.29. Chapter 29: Customs union (page 57)

As regards customs legislation, the Customs Law was amended in November and was further aligned with the acquis and with national legislation, particularly with some provisions of the Budget System Law. The Serbian government amended the decree on customs tariff nomenclature in November with the aim of aligning it with the 2013 EU Combined Nomenclature and with the liberalisation schedule under the Interim Agreement.

Further harmonisation is needed in the field of customs legislation. The Law on the Customs Service remains to be adopted. An adequate legislative framework on cultural goods is missing. The provisions on cash control have yet to be aligned with the acquis. The same goes for duty relief on imports of new production equipment. Legislation on customs-related security initiatives and authorised economic operators has yet to be implemented. The Serbian parliament ratified the Pan-Euro-Med Convention on Rules of Origin.

As regards administrative and operational capacity, the Customs Administration (CAS) has continued to improve its administrative capacity to effectively enforce the customs legislation. It continued to apply integrity procedures for customs officials and to step up the fight against corruption. Post-clearance controls and risk analysis systems are implemented following the two respective strategies. Simplification of customs procedures continued and the number of companies making use of such procedures increased. Coordination between the CAS and the Ministry of Finance and Economy is strengthening. The CAS is aiming to establish a functioning IT system based on interconnectivity between various departments. Over 95% of customs declarations are submitted electronically and the concept of electronic signature has been introduced. About 17% of declarations are subject to documentary or physical inspections. The electronic application for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights is used by around 45% of the rights holders. In terms of trade facilitation, the electronic system for exchanging pre-arrival information with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is functioning well.

A new border crossing on the Serbia-Hungarian border was opened in May. A big challenge remains the upgrading of the customs declaration processing system (CDPS) and the customs laboratory.

Customs procedures between Kosovo and Serbia have further progressed with the opening of joint interim crossing points in December 2012 and January 2013 at six locations, including the two crossing points in northern Kosovo, as per the IBM agreement. The establishment of these co-located crossing points has allowed daily cooperation between both administrations and regular exchange of information. On 17 January, both parties concluded an agreement for the restoration of customs controls at the two crossing points (gates 1 and 31). In the meantime, the administrative border/boundary line between Kosovo and Serbia remains vulnerable to illicit activities.

Preparations in the area of administrative and operational capacity are on track.

Conclusion
There has been some progress in the area of the customs union. The Customs Law and legislation on the tariff nomenclature were further aligned with the acquis. The CDPS system needs to be renewed or upgraded. Overall, preparations in the area of the customs union are well on track.

4.30. Chapter 30: External relations (page 58)

…As concerns bilateral agreements with third countries, Serbia is currently negotiating a free
trade agreement (FTA) with Ukraine. Serbia’s trade arrangements with the Russian Federation, Belarus and Kazakhstan were harmonised, since the three countries form a customs union…Serbia signed the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) Convention on Rules of Origin in November…

4.33. Chapter 33: Financial and budgetary provisions (page 60)

There were no developments in the areas of traditional own resources, the VAT resource
and GNI resource.
 (For progress in the underlying policy areas, see Chapter 16 — Taxation; Chapter 18 — Statistics; Chapter 29 — Customs union; and Chapter 32 — Financial control).

As concerns the administrative infrastructure, administrative capacity in the relevant policy areas needs to be strengthened. A coordinating body to ensure correct calculation, accounting, forecasting, collection, payment and control of own resources has yet to be established. The body is also required for reporting to the EU on the implementation of the own resources rules. Instruments to fight and reduce tax evasion and fraud and to reduce the informal economy also need to be further developed.

Conclusion
No progress has been made with regard to financial and budgetary provisions. A coordinating body to ensure correct calculation, accounting, forecasting, collection, payment and control of own resources has yet to be established. Overall, preparations in this field are at an early stage.