Associations are not obliged to pay membership fees to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia

Regarding information Civic Initiatives have been receiving from a number of associations about obligation to pay membership fees to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (CC), we inform you that the Association membership fee is not binding and it applies only to associations that expressly agreed to pay the membership fee, as recognized by Article 10 of the Law of Chambers of Commerce (“Off. Gazette of RS”, no. 112/2015) associations can be, but are not obligated by law to become members of chambers of commerce.

As a national resource center that monitors the development of the legal framework and practice in terms of freedom of association, Civic initiatives point to the fact that according to the Law on Chambers of Commerce, associations have the ability but not the obligation to be members of CC. This definition is in accordance with international standards, which require that “No one may be compelled to belong to an association.” At the same time, the obligation to join certain structures such as the bar association, trade associations and chambers of commerce are not incompatible with freedom of association as long as they represent the interests of those who are obliged to join them and the freedom of members within these structures to form their own entities.

At the same time we draw attention to yet another contentious provision that obliges the associations that agreed to pay a membership fee that these amounts are disproportionately higher than those paid by commercial entities. Thus, The decision on the amount, manner and deadlines for payment of individual membership fees and financing of  the CC (“Off. Gazette of RS”, no. 101/2016) defines in Article 3, paragraph 9 that the associations pay 1,000 dinars per month, while commercial entities with annual revenue of 20 million to 300 million dinars pay the membership fee in the amount of 300 dinars, and 600 dinars of monthly subscription fees should be paid by commercial entities with the undertakings from 300 million to 600 million dinars of business income.