The Embassy of Sweden this year dedicated the celebration of the Swedish National Day to the 250th anniversary of the world’s first freedom of the press act that was passed by the Swedish parliament. The celebration „Open Sweden“ also highlighted the progress of Serbia in its EU membership negotiations, specifically the upcoming opening of the key chapters 23 and 24 – chapters which also include fundamental rights and freedoms.
Emphasising the importance of the freedom of expression H.E. Mr Christer Asp, Ambassador of Sweden said “freedom of expression, as many other civil liberties, is a part of every modern and democratic society. It is constantly developed, sometimes questioned, but a fundamental importance in any society.”. He added that “by consequently creating conditions for new chapters to be opened, Serbia shows its determination to go forward towards a full membership of the European Union, a place where Serbia belongs together with the rest of member countries”.
Speaking about the importance of the Chapters 23 and 24 being opened in the very near future, Tanja Miščević, Head of the Negotiating Team for the Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the EU said: “Chapters 23 and 24 are fundamental for the stability and continuity of the stability of democratic institutions. It does not refer only to the protection of fundamental rights, but also the legal security of all, including the business environment.They are proof that this is a serious country that holds up to standards and norms.”
To meet the opening of the Chapters 23 and 24 dedicated to justice, freedom and security, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Mr Aleksandar Vučić said: „Democracy and human rights including freedom of speech are areas where Sweden is investing most. Serbia is still far away from Sweden, ranks 59th out of 180 countries in the 2016. The Press Freedom Index report compiled by Reportes withhout borders, improving its ranking by eight places if compared to 2015, but our goal is to reach the level of developed western countries. That’s why the Serbian Parliament adopted on August 2nd, three new media-related laws – the Law on Public Information and Media, the Law on Electronic Media, and the Law on Public Media Services. This legislative activity represents an important and positive step towards harmonisation of Serbia’s legislative environment with that of the European Union”.
In the presence of numerous representatives of NGO, media and students and lecturers from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, the speakers on “Open Sweden” agreed that Serbia has made significant steps forwards in its EU membership negotiations, specifically with the upcoming opening of the key chapters 23 and 24 – chapters which also include fundamental rights and freedoms.