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Prioritizing fair competition: Insights from Serbia’s EU negotiations on competition policy

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Today, during the Working Group session of the National Convention on the EU for Negotiating Chapter 8, focusing on competition policy, the importance of fostering a free and equitable market was underscored as a top priority.

Žarko Malinović, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Internal and Foreign Trade, remarked on the shift in perspective over the past two decades, acknowledging the persistent challenges in maintaining enthusiasm for the European path. Despite these challenges, Serbia has continued to demonstrate commitment by aligning its legislation, such as the Law on the Protection of Competition passed in 2013, with EU standards. However, political circumstances have delayed further legislative action, such as the enactment of the Law on Services, pending the formation of a new government.

Malinović stressed the significance of self-focus for Serbia’s progress, regardless of its EU membership status. Transparency in state institutions and robust competition were highlighted as essential for market integrity and growth.

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Siniša Milošević from the Commission for the Protection of Competition acknowledged significant advancements in aligning with EU practices in recent years. Despite the challenging nature of adapting to dynamic market changes, proactive measures have been taken to identify and address key market influencers through analysis and research.

Gordana Lukić, also from the Commission for the Protection of Competition, emphasized the vital role of competition in maintaining market integrity and preventing abuses. While acknowledging the need for ongoing adaptation to evolving market dynamics, Lukić outlined the Commission’s commitment to promoting fair competition practices and enhancing market transparency.

Dušan Protić, the coordinator of the National Convention on the European Union for Cluster 2, highlighted the complexities surrounding Chapter 8, which pertains to competition policy. While progress has been made, particularly in competition protection, challenges remain, particularly concerning state aid control. Protić stressed the need for increased attention and focus to overcome these obstacles and advance negotiations.

In conclusion, the session reaffirmed Serbia’s dedication to aligning with EU competition policies and highlighted the ongoing efforts to address challenges and foster a competitive market environment.

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