Freedom of association

ESTABLISHMENT AND REGISTRATION

Associations as a voluntary and non-governmental non-profit organization, based on the freedom of association of multiple natural or legal persons, are established for the purpose of exercising and improving a certain joint or general goal and interest which is not prohibited by the Constitution or the Law.

 

Conditions for establishment of associations are considerably liberalized, so that associations may be established by at least three legally competent natural or legal persons. Minors aged 14 and above are allowed to be founders of associations, with a certified written approval of their legal representatives. With the above conditions fulfilled, every person may become a member of an association under equal conditions, as defined by the statute. A natural person may be a member of the association regardless of their age, where the certified statement on joining the association for a minor under 14 are given by their legal representative. Associations are founded before being entered into the register, but it is only through their entry into the register that they gain the status of a legal person, and thus the associations may decide on their own if they will be entered into the register or not. Associations and representatives of foreign associations are entered into the Register of Associations and the Register of Foreign Associations maintained by the Business Registers Agency, as an entrusted task from the competence of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government. Foreign associations and their agencies are allowed to conduct activities in the territory of the Republic of Serbia with a prior registration into the Register. Legal rules on civic partnership apply to associations which are not entered into the register, in which case they do not have the status of a legal person. Associations entered into the Register act independently in legal transactions in accordance with economic and other activities in line with the law and apply for funds which are provided in the budget of the Republic, autonomous province or local self-government unit for financing of certain programme of public interest. Information on the registration procedure are available at: www.apr.gov.rs.

 

The Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government handles complaints filed against the decisions of the Business Registers Agency, Registrator maintaining the Register of Associations and the Register of Foreign Associations, and conducts supervision over the implementation of the Law on Associations, while the inspection is conducted by the ministry through administrative inspectors of the Administrative Inspectorate.

 

An association may acquire property from membership fees, voluntary contributions, donations and gifts (monetary or in kind), financial subsidies, inheritance, interest on deposit, rents, dividends and other legal manners. In addition, the association is enabled to conduct the activities which help fulfil the objectives as defined by its statute. An association may directly conduct an economic or other activity which acquires profit in accordance with the law regulating the classification of activities, but only after the following conditions: that the activity is relating to its statutory goals, that the activity is prescribed by the statute and that it’s smaller in scope, i.e. conducted in the scope necessary for fulfilment of the goals of the association. In that regard, associations are obliged to maintain books, draw up financial statements, and are subject to the auditing of financial statements in accordance with regulations on accounting and auditing.

 

 

FINANCING THE ASSOCIATION FROM THE BUDGET

The law defines areas of public interest for which budgetary resources are provided for promoting the programme or the missing part of the funding programmes executed by the associations, where further criteria, conditions, scope, method, procedure of allocation of funds and other are regulated in the new Regulation on the funds for promoting the programme or the missing portion of the funds for financing a programme of public interest executed by the associations. This Regulation provides for an increase in the level of transparency of the entire competition process, or process of fund allocation, as well as an introduction of additional anti-corruption measures relating to the prevention of conflict of interests.

 

 

PROHIBITION OF ACTIVITIES OF THE ASSOCIATION

The Constitution prohibits secret and paramilitary associations, and the Constitutional Court may prohibit only an association whose activities are aimed at a violent overthrow of the constitutional system, violation of guaranteed human or minority rights, or incitement of racial, national or religious hatred.

 

The decision on the prohibition of an association or agency of a foreign association is made by the Constitutional Court, and the Law prescribes that the procedure for the prohibition of the activities of the association or agency of a foreign association shall be initiated at the proposal of the Government, Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Serbia, ministry in charge of administrative matters, ministry competent for the area where goals of the association or the Registrator of the association, or Registrator of a foreign association, are fulfilled. Procedure for the prohibition of activities of the association may be initiated and conducted against associations without the status of a legal person.