Date: 18/12/2018

Briefing Session on Chapter 27: Towards the EU

On December 18 2018, representatives of more than 20 AmCham member companies participated in a Briefing Session on Chapter 27: Towards the EU with Ivan Karić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and head of the Negotiation Group for Chapter 27, Radmila Šerović, Head of the Waste Management Department, and Darinka Borčević, European Integration Department at the Ministry.

State Secretary Karić thanked AmCham for organizing the meeting and stated that the aim was to include the business sector in the further development of Serbia’s negotiating position by making this process transparent and open for feedback and suggestions for improvement of the negotiating position.

Furthermore, representatives of the Ministry stressed that Chapter 27 is the most technically complicated and the most expensive negotiating Chapter – with more than 200 EU regulations waiting to be transposed and implemented.

The Negotiating Group for Chapter 27 is currently in the stage of developing the second Draft on Negotiating Position for Chapter 27, which will soon be sent to the European Commission for informal consultations. The official Negotiating Position is planned to be submitted by the end of 2019.

Karić presented some of the most challenging negotiating areas that will require special transitional arrangements, such as wastewater treatment, municipal waste treatment and industrial pollution.
  • In the area of wastewater treatment, around 55% of the Serbian population is connected to the system of wastewater collection, while only 7,3% of wastewaters are biologically treated. It is necessary to construct 359 facilities for wastewater treatment and around 10,000 km of additional infrastructure for wastewater collection. The total investment will amount up to 3,8 billion euros.
  • In the area of municipal waste treatment, although around 30% of generated municipal solid waste is disposed on 10 sanitary landfills, there are still 3,500 unregulated landfill areas in Serbia. While the current EU demand is for countries to reach 50% of recycling in this area by 2020, the official data for 2016 show that recycling percent in Serbia is only 3%. Also, the EU targets for the recycling of batteries and electronic waste are not yet being reached. When it comes to packaging waste, the situation is slightly better, but new schemes for the improvement of the current system of collection and recycling are being revised.
  • In the area of industrial pollution, around 230 operators in Serbia need to receive IPPC licenses and implement demands of the Directive on Industrial Emissions. If, due to the high cost of compliance, transitional periods are required, they must be negotiated individually for each company. Directive Specific Implementation Plans (DSIP) for Directive on Industrial Emissions will be made during first half of 2019, and Ministry representatives have invited AmCham members to take an active part in working groups in charge of drafting them.
DSIPs for all relevant regulations that will include transitional arrangements will be adopted by the Government in 2019 and sent to European Commission along with Negotiating Position.

Along with keeping up with the ongoing transformation of the EU acquis in this area (such as Circular Economy Package which was adopted in 2018), it was noted that the biggest challenge will be the necessary investment – more than 8 billion euros for waste and wastewater treatment, launching at least 8 new projects per year and 32 after the accession.

Radmila Šerović presented concrete Ministry plans for the transposition of specific waste directives such as:

  • Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste by improving the implementation of extended producers’ liability and increasing the recycling percent of glass, wood and metal, reduce the use of plastic bags etc.
  • Directive 1999/31/EC on landfill of waste by establishing regional landfields, reducing the percent of biodegradable waste going to landfills, introducing better financial and control mechanism that would stimulate recycling etc.
  • Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment by introducing extended producers’ liability in this area.
AmCham members were invited to take an active part in drafting the final Negotiating Position and share any suggestions in this process that would enable the smoother transposition and implementation of the EU acquis.