On October 17 2013, a kick-off meeting for the project on Serbia's EU environmental approximation process was organized with the support from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Some 50 representatives from Serbia's Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection (MEDEP), regional Government, civil society and the European Commission participated. The delegation from Serbia was led by State Secretary Mr. Dejan Novakovic (MEDEP). The delegation from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) was led by Mr. Ulrik Westman, Head of the International Cooperation Unit.
The purpose of the kick-off meeting was primarily to mark the start of a new project where Sweden will continue to support Serbia's Ministry for Energy, Development and Environmental Protection for the upcoming EU-negotiations regarding the environment. As environmental negotiations with the EU will begin next year, and the environmental chapter is both extensive and intensive, there is a lot of interest from the Serbian side for this project.
State Secretary Mr. Dejan Novakovic and Head of EU-department Mr. Miroslav Tadic opened the kick-off meeting in Belgrad. After the high-level segment the meeting continued with presentations by MEDEP, SEPA and the European Commission about the project and what will be required of Serbia during the upcoming negotiations on the environmental chapter in 2014 and beyond.
- "This project is very important for Serbia and for MEDEP for the forthcoming negotiations," said State Secretary Mr. Dejan Novakovic
- "Environmental work is fundamental to social and economic development," said Mr. Ulrik Westman. "It is important that we look ahead, organize the work and avoid duplication."
- "The cooperation between the Ministry for Energy, Development and Environmental Protection and the Swedish EPA will, among many things, strengthen capacities to draft Directive Specific Implementation Plans (DSIP´s) and negotiation papers. It will also strengthen coordination and information sharing between stakeholders, which is very important considering the complexity and cross-cutting nature of the environmental acquis. In this way, we believe that Sweden's cooperation will be useful to Serbia's accession process and it is our hope that it will trigger long-term institutional changes to improve the integration of environmental issues, supporting a more sustainable development in Serbia" said Country Manager Mr Torgny Svenungsson
The kick-off meeting in Belgrad was organized by the European Department in MEDEP, together with the Swedish EPA.