After almost two months, the state of emergency instituted because of the COVID-19 outbreak was revoked in the Republic of Serbia on 6 May 2020. Unlike the Decision on declaration a state of emergency from 15 March 2020, the Decision on revoking the state of emergency was adopted by the National Assembly. The Decision determined it will enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, which means that as of 6 May, state of emergency is no longer in effect in the Republic of Serbia.
Simultaneously with the adoption of the Decision on revoking the state of emergency, the National Assembly of Serbia adopted the Law on the validity of Decrees issued by the Government with co-signature of the President of the Republic of Serbia („Law“). Based on this Law, it is prescribed which Decrees (adopted during the state of emergency) cease to be valid on the day of revocation of the state of emergency, and which continue to be valid until adoption of appropriate laws that will replace them.
The most essential provisions of the Decrees that are no longer in force as of yesterday are those concerning the ban on people’s movement (for all categories of persons, regardless of age, the ban on movement is revoked), the ban of gathering more than two persons in public places, the ban on passengers transport in international air transport (flights from Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport have already started), domestic railway and water transport, as well as public transport. Also, the provisions concerning the obligation of employers to organize the work of their employees remotely or from home are no longer in force.
Pursuant to the Law, the Decree on deadlines in court proceedings during the state of emergency has also ceased to be valid, so all procedural deadlines have started running again as of yesterday. Nevertheless, provisions of the Decrees adopted during the state of emergency shall continue to apply to the perpetrators of misdemeanors prescribed by these Decrees that have taken place during the state of emergency, even after the state of emergency was revoked.
In the meantime, The High Judicial Council has issued recommendations for courts stating that conditions for normalization of work as of Monday, 11 May, have been met. However, no court has still issued an official statement on the date of resuming work, meaning that this is still just a recommendation and not a definitive decision.
The Decree on the application of deadlines in administrative proceedings continues to apply, thus filing in administrative proceedings and notifying actions from which non-extendable deadlines start running (that have been conducted during the state of emergency), shall be deemed conducted 15 days from the date of revocation of the state of emergency. Deadlines that expired during the state of emergency, relating to undertaking the administrative actions, termination of administrative proceedings, and deciding upon the submitted legal remedies shall be deemed expired 30 days from the date of revocation of the state of emergency.
Also, the Decree on fiscal benefits and direct contribution to economic entities in the private sector and financial support of citizens remains in force, so that companies and citizens will be able to move on enjoying these benefits in the future, in accordance with this Decree. At the same time, provisions extending the deadlines for holding a regular session of the General Meeting of companies, for submitting annual reports and annual financial reports with auditor’s report, as well as the deadlines for submitting tax returns for corporate income tax and income tax for independent activities continue to apply.
When it comes to traveling across the state border, the borders are still closed and traveling is not possible, with an exception of air transport (persons traveling by plane will still have to spend 14 days in quarantine on their return to Serbia). There is still no official information on the date when the borders will be reopened.
By Milica Savic, Partner, independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners