Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Monitoring Mission visits National Assembly

A delegation of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and Secretariat is on a visit to Serbia from 24 to 27 October.

A delegation of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and Secretariat is on a visit to Serbia from 24 to 27 October. This is the first visit of a CoE Monitoring Mission to the Republic of Serbia as a member state of the Council of Europe; a report on Serbia’s fulfilment of obligations arising from membership, to be drawn up by the CoE Committee of Ministers, will be discussed in November.

The National Assembly Chairman, Predrag Markovic, met the Monitoring Mission delegation at the National Assembly on 24 October; in addition, the Mission had separate meetings with chairpersons and officials of Deputies’ Groups.

Mr Markovic told the delegation about the enormous effort that went into preparing and adopting the proposed new Constitution, as well as about preparations for the referendum to confirm it. Monitoring Mission members also expressed interest for the Assembly’s general legislative activities and for the results it has thus far achieved in harmonising Serbian laws with European standards – an obligation undertaken when the country joined the Council of Europe.

Mr Markovic hailed the Council of Europe’s principled stance that a balanced approach should be preserved, and international standards adhered to, in negotiations on the status of Kosovo and Metohia. He particularly expressed his gratitude for the fact that the Council of Europe had, at Mr Markovic’s personal suggestion to the Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Rene van der Linden, formed an ad hoc mission to oversee the referendum to confirm Serbia’s proposed new Constitution.

On the same day, the Monitoring Mission met chairpersons of the Democratic Party of Serbia and G17 Plus Deputies’ Groups at the National Assembly, Milos Aligrudic and Miloljub Albijanic. The discussion centred on current issues facing Serbia, with the Mission expressing most interest in preparations for the referendum, the upcoming elections, and Kosovo and Metohia.

Aligrudic and Albijanic underlined the importance of confirming Serbia’s proposed new Constitution, and expressed their conviction that the referendum would be successful. They also said they expected a parliamentary election to be called immediately after the proposed Constitution is confirmed.

The chairman of the Serbian Radical Party Deputies’ Group at the National Assembly, Tomislav Nikolic, told the visiting delegation that his party, although formally in opposition, had taken a key role in drafting the proposed Constitution, as well as that it was crucial to pass a law on how the new Constitution is to be implemented. He re-iterated the Radical Party’s view that a general election should be held.

In a meeting with the Monitoring Mission, the National Assembly’s Deputy Chairman, Milan Markovic, emphasised that the proposed new Constitution provided for a mechanism to incorporate international legal standards into Serbia’s system. He related the views of his party, the Democratic Party, that both a parliamentary and a presidential election should be held at the same time.

The visiting delegation was met by Advisor Branko Brankovic on behalf of the Socialist Party of Serbia Deputies’ Group.

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