Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 9 June 2020, an event was held to mark the end of the semester for the English-language “Master in European Integration” course at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade. This course is being supported by IRZ. The online event hosted around 50 participants and was opened by the course leader, Prof. Dr. Dragica Vujadinovic. The Deputy Ambassador for Germany in Serbia, Dorothea Gieselmann, then spoke about the German contribution towards Serbia’s preparation for entry to the EU. During her speech, she presented the process for accession to the EU and the current status of Serbia’s preparations for joining. Dorothea Gieselmann explained how Germany was supporting the process, as well as talking about the current lack of progress in rule of law reforms, which represents the main obstacle for continuing negotiations, and described the present situation in the EU ahead of Germany’s takeover of EU Council presidency.

Following on from her lecture, the audience showed their interest by asking plenty of questions. The fact that one of the issues addressed was the judgement of the Federal Constitutional Court on the purchase of government bonds by the European Central Bank is proof of how closely the Masters degree students are also monitoring legal developments in Germany.

The event was rounded off with a lecture by the IRZ Head of Section for Serbia, Dr. Stefan Pürner, on the specific challenges of interlingual communication in the legal field. This is particularly significant in the multilingual European Union, he said, with the various legal traditions of its member states. Dr. Pürner spoke amongst other things about how the use of the English language inevitably leads to a loss of information during communications about legal issues between Continental European countries, since the English language cannot illustrate many of the legal institutions and dogmatic subtleties that are foreign to Common Law countries. The Slavic languages and German, on the other hand, are to a large extent compatible in this respect. Therefore, legal experts from Germany and Slavic countries communicating in English can be compared to an attempt to convert a piece of music from stereo to mono before using the result to turn it into a stereo recording again.

The event was not just open to past and present participants in the master’s course. Since it took place online and was advertised on LinkedIn, for example, many other interested parties also joined the event, who would not have been able to attend in person in Belgrade. They included many project partners, experts, representatives of members and alumni of IRZ, including:

  • Gudrun Steinacker, a former German Ambassador in Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro,
  • Michael Haußner, Secretary of State, (ret.), a former IRZ advisor to the Croatian and Montenegrin Ministers of Justice,
  • Winfried Schubert, former President of the Constitutional Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt and of the Higher Regional Court of Naumberg,
  • Notary Richard Bock (ret.), former Vice-President of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries, and
  • Martin Knapp, Managing Director of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce.