As authorised by National Assembly Speaker and the Head of the standing delegation to the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly (SEECP PA) Ivica Dacic, Djordje Milicevic took part as the Head of the National Assembly delegation to the SEECP PA Plenary Session, hybrid format, on 22 June 2021 in Antalya, organised by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
The topic of the session was “SEE Neighbours Together: Strengthening Cooperation Mechanisms for the Future of Regional Solidarity”.
In the plenary part of the SEECP PA session, chaired by the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Mustafa Şentop, MP Djordje Milicevic pointed out that we live in a world of changing geopolitical reality, in which we face challenges of global proportions, such as terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism, separatism, energy security, refugees and migration, climate change.
He stressed that, in the face of common challenges, it is important for the Republic of Serbia to develop cooperation at all levels, regional, European and global, responsibly and in solidarity.
Djordje Milicevic pointed out that the most important challenge we have faced in recent years and which we continue to tackle, is the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, which claimed many lives, paralysed economies, closed up countries, imprisoned people in their homes and locked the world in a struggle for survival.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic required global action and a global response through strengthening healthcare and mitigating the negative economic and social consequences.
He added that during the coronavirus pandemic, Serbia was not a burden for the EU, neither economically, nor in terms of security, on the contrary, he pointed out that Serbia has shown that it can provide assistance to others. Serbia has donated over two million euros for research and development of the vaccine and on 4 June started its own production of the "Sputnik" vaccine. Serbia helped EU countries (Italy), as well as partners in the region, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, enabling foreigners to come to Serbia to get vaccinated. He stressed that the representatives of the World Health Organization deemed the vaccination process in Serbia impressive from the procedure of digital registration of citizens, determining the date of vaccination to the organisation of the vaccination process in healthcare institutions and healthcare centres.
Given the seriousness of the situation, the scale of the challenges and the need for timely and adequate responses to the crisis, Djordje Milicevic said that coordinating activities with international partners is the only way to overcome cross-border challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic and only coordinated efforts can staunch the spread of the pandemic and enable the economic progress of each country individually, as well as the region as a whole.
He expressed confidence that Serbia will end 2021 with the best economic results in Europe, because the economic growth is expected to be approximately 7%. He added that Serbia had almost the best economic results in Europe in 2020, almost the smallest drop in GDP (0.9%) and an increase in net employment, although the general global trend is an increase in the number of unemployed.
Finally, Djordje Milicevic underlined that Serbia unequivocally stands for respecting the principles and policy of dialogue and compromise, the absence of which threatens to destabilise the Western Balkans, pointing out that the fact that Serbia has always been constructive and flexible when it comes to Pristina, by signing various regional agreements and implementing of regional projects, does not mean that it will allow Pristina to overthrow all the agreements that Serbia has painstakingly built all these years within the SEECP and in the entire region as well.
Taking part in the debate on the seat of the Permanent Secretariat, MP Djordje Milicevic reminded the participants that on the eve of the Standing Committee meeting on 7 December 2020, in a letter submitted to the Turkish presidency and President Şentop, the Head of the standing delegation to the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly and National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic said that it is Serbia's position that the decision to establish a Permanent Secretariat must be made by consensus of all the participants in the SEECP PA and on the basis of the two existing candidacies: Sofia and Istanbul. The principle of consensus is a basic decision-making principle that should remain the way decisions are made, because dialogue and agreement on the most important regional issues that are the essence of this type of parliamentary cooperation.
At the end of the Plenary Session, the participants adopted a Joint Declaration, as well as documents of the General Committee on Justice, Home Affairs and Security Cooperation.