On 19th August 2019, the Commission for State Aid Control of the Republic of Serbia (“CSAC”), assisted by the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED), organized the third round of public discussions concerning the draft of the new State Aid Law (the “Law”) in Serbia.
The preparation of the draft Law came as a result of various factors. First of all, the existing Serbian State Aid Law has been in force for almost ten years and started to show its age. Furthermore, alignment of state aid rules and enforcement practice represents a major stepping stone in Serbia’s accession negotiations with the European Union. Finally, state aid legislation needs to be aligned with the updated Law on General Administrative Procedure.
The Law, inter alia, seeks to bolster the enforcement capacity of CSAC, since one of the major criticisms of the EU Progress Report for 2019 for Serbia concerned the need to upgrade its operational independence, enforcement capacity and staff. It is apparent that the envisioned institutional framework borrows much from existing independent regulatory authorities, such as the Commission for Protection of Competition, the Fiscal Council or the State Audit Institution.
The Law introduces a number of more specific or detailed state-aid related instruments, including a non-exhaustive list of state aid measures (and measures which are generally not considered state aid), a more detailed regulation of ex ante and ex post procedural rules and substantive changes to the existing framework. However, extensive amendments are expected to fully come to fruition with the adoption of the implementing regulations, which should set out in detail the substantive framework for review.
The Law was provided to the European Commission for potential comments and suggestions. It is expected that the final version of the draft will be adopted and that the draft law will enter the procedure before the Parliament in the last quarter of 2019.
The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.