On July 8th, the Serbian Parliament approved the Law on Associations. The Parliament’s decision marked the culmination of long efforts to bring the legal framework for associations in Serbia closer to international standards and regional best practices.
Among others, the Law requires only three natural or legal persons to establish an association, permits informal associations to operate, and sets out rules governing the establishment of branch offices of foreign associations operating in Serbia; currently, those branch offices operate in a legal vacuum. The Law envisages the Agency for Registration of Commercial Companies as a registration body of associations. This novel approach gives rise to a number of issues, including the Agency’s non-exposure to international standards pertinent to freedom of associations.
While ICNL has contributed to and supported this initiative over the years, we would like to acknowledge the efforts of ECNL, who was a member of the Ministry of State Administration and Local-Self Government’s working group which was commissioned with preparing the Law. Indeed, ECNL is the only foreign organization which participated in all initiatives since 2000 to create an enabling legal environment for associations in Serbia. In collaboration with local partners, ECNL will now turn its focus on training and other initiatives which will ensure fair and consistent implementation of the Law, as well as a smooth transition for associations which will need to amend their governing documents to comply with the requirements set out in the new Law.
To view ECNL’s website, please visit www.ecnl.org.