The Chairperson of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues Jelena Zaric Kovacevic met today at the National Assembly with the Head of the Political Section of the EU Delegation in the Republic of Serbia Dirk Lorenz to discuss Serbia’s Constitutional amendment procedure and the duties of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues in said procedure.
Jelena Zaric Kovacevic stated that the Constitutional amendment procedure is set out in the Constitution itself and the National Assembly Rules of Procedure. The Proposal to amend the Constitution is submitted in writing to the National Assembly and the competent committee determines whether the proposal was submitted by a submitter authorised by the Constitution and in the prescribed form, she said.
If the National Assembly adopts the proposal to amend the Constitution, the competent Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues then drafts a proposal of the act to amend the Constitution and a Constitutional Law Bill and submits them to the National Assembly Speaker who immediately submits the proposals to the MPs. An act of Constitutional amendment is passed by a two third majority, and as stipulated by Constitution, the National Assembly is afterwards obliged to put an act amending the Constitution to a republican referendum for confirmation. When the Act of Constitutional amendment is confirmed in referendum, the National Assembly adopts decisions on the promulgation of the Act of Constitutional amendment and the Constitutional Law, Zaric Kovacevic explained in detail.
The Chairperson of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues went on to say that the National Judicial Reform Strategy (2013 - 2018) identified the need to amend the Constitution in the part related to the influence of the legislative and executive authorities on the judiciary. The need to amend the Constitution in the part related to the judiciary was also confirmed in the Judicial Development Strategy for the period 2020-2025 adopted by the Government on 10 July 2020.
Jelena Zaric Kovacevic also said that the Action Plan for Chapter 23, passed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia in 2016 and revised on 10 July 2020, envisages the implementation of specific actions defined in accordance with the European Commission’s recommendations set out in the Screening Report on Negotiation Chapter 23.
She said that the basis from which the process of changing the Constitution would start is the proposal sent by the Government to the National Assembly in 2020, emphasising that this is an important state issue and that its preparation requires the involvement of the expert public, relevant institutions and organisations and all stakeholders, through consultations, public hearings and public debate.
Dirk Lorenz agreed that this is an intensive and complex process, which requires inclusive consultations, and emphasised the support of the EU Delegation in Serbia for the prompt adoption of constitutional changes. He assessed that the speed and success in that field lead to progress in other areas, including the opening of new negotiating clusters.