Monday, 16 November 2015

46th Sitting of the European Integration Committee

At the 46th sitting of the European Integration Committee, held on 16 November, the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport presented the European Commission 2015 Progress Report on Serbia.

The Head of the EU Delegation said that this year’s Progress Report is very detailed in its recommendations and sends the clear message to all, Serbia and the EU member states, that the European Commission is in favour of opening the first negotiation chapters in December. Davenport reminded the Committee that the European Commission had recommended opening the first negotiation chapters a year ago. At the moment it was refereeing to Chapter 32, but the member states were not in consensus on the matter which they have managed to achieve now. He stressed that the Report mentions the progress achieved in the preparation of action plans for chapters 23 and 24 and progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, so the opening of Chapter 35 is also to be expected. The Report states that the Government has shown progress in the implementation of ambitious reforms and the European Commission understands the results of the economic reforms, commends Serbia’s efforts on promoting regional cooperation and bilateral relations directed toward reconciliation in the region, Davenport said. Considering that public administration reform is the key topic of the EU enlargement strategy, the Report commends the comprehensive plan of public administration reform and highlights the objectives that have to be achieved in the next year. The Report also notes all that has to be done to ensure full freedom of expression and media reform and achieve full social equality, and asks the Government to invest effort into cooperation with independent regulatory bodies, added Davenport. The Report also speaks highly of the peaceful Belgrade Pride 2015, notes the burden of the migrant crisis that has fallen to Serbia and applauds Serbia’s response to it. The Report stressed that Serbia is an important foreign policy partner for the EU which expects to cooperate with Serbia in the matter, said Davenport. He reminded that the Report highlights the role of the National Assembly in fostering dialogue between the Government and the civil sector concerning European integration, with a special focus on its cooperation with the National Convention.

In the ensuing debate the Committee members applauded the European Commission’s urging to open the first negotiation chapters and asked questions about some of the recommendations. They also discussed EC’s comments about the use of urgent procedure in the legislative process, progress in the judiciary sphere, combating corruption, freedom of the media, transparency of public enterprise management, public administration reform and chapters 35, 23 and 24.

The sitting was attended by students of the Faculty of Political Science, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Economics.

The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Aleksandar Senic.

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