European Western Balkans

Old problems for the new Crisis Staff in Serbia

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BELGRADE – The change of members of the Crisis Staff was one of the first decisions of the newly formed Government of Serbia. This document was not published on the Government’ website so that all citizens of Serbia could have an insight into its content. There has been a controversy in the public for months about who makes decisions and what is the role and competence of the Crisis Staff.

The Government’s previous conclusion on the first Crisis Staff, which was formed eight months ago, was not available to the public. After the announcement of the decision on the new Crisis Staff, the Government of Serbia submitted all previously adopted conclusions about that body.

Commission for the Protection of the Citizens from Infectious Diseases or Crisis Staff?

According to Serbian law, Crisis Staff is a temporary advisory working body that does not make decisions, but can make recommendations.

Insajder reported that the Law on the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases does not envisage the Crisis Staff, but the Commission for the Protection of the Citizens from Infectious Diseases, which was not even mentioned during the pandemic.

The Commission considers the current epidemiological situation and gives conclusions and recommendations for improving the protection of the citizens.

According to Law, the Minister of Health is responsible for declaring a situation of epidemiological significance, and he orders measures that must be implemented in that case. However, he does that on the proposal of the Commission and the Insitute no later than two days from the day of submitting the proposal.

During the coronavirus crisis in Serbia, epidemiological measures were adopted by the Government based on the recommendations of the Crisis Staff. The reports on the work of the Crisis Staff were submitted daily to the President of the Republic and Government.

What are the changes in the new Crisis Staff?

The new Government of Serbia, at the first session, held after its formation, on October 29, passed the Decision on the formation of the Crisis Staff. The names of certain ministers in the Government have changed, the same has been done with the list of members of the Crisis Staff.

The Crisis Staff no longer has co-leaders, but Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has been appointed the President of the Crisis Staff. Minister of Health Zlatibor Lončar was appointed as Deputy of the President.

Unlike the previous composition of this body, this one now includes the Minister of Labor, Darija Kisić Tepavčević, who until now, as the Deputy Director of Institut “Batut”, acted as an engaged expert at the invitation of the Government of Serbia. Pulmonologist Branislav Nestorović is not among the members of the new Crisis Staff.

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