6 December 2021 The delegation of the European Integration Committee in bilateral visit to the Hungarian Parliament
Tuesday, 7 December 2021 12:00
European Integration Committee Delegation in Bilateral Visit to Hungarian Parliament
European Integration Committee delegation comprising Chairperson Elvira Kovacs, Deputy Chairperson Dusica Stojkovic, Committee members Predrag Rajic and Ana Miljanic, as well as deputy member Dijana Radovic, visited the Hungarian Parliament on 6 December 2021.
In meeting with the Hungarian Parliament Deputy Speaker Istvan Jakab, the officials emphasised the historical friendship and the importance of the overall bilateral relations between the two countries, with a special emphasis on the excellent cooperation between the two parliaments. Mr. Jakab said that the fact that Serbian and Hungarian national minorities live in both countries is an unbreakable bond in their mutual relations. He emphasised Hungary's great support for Serbia's European integration, with the intention of strengthening it further in the coming period at the political and administrative level. Committee Chairperson Kovacs thanked Hungary for the support provided so far, pointing out that Serbia and its people feel the friendship of the Hungarian people, as well as the country’s support in international organisations, conferences and forums, and EU institutions in particular. She said it was no coincidence the two parliaments signed a strategic partnership agreement in July of this year, adding that the today’s visit, as well as next week’s announced visit of the Hungary-Serbia Parliamentary Friendship Group. Headed by P. Rajic and the return visit of the Hungarian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in late December would undoubtedly contribute to.
The Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs Richard Horcsik and the members of the Committee, conveyed support for the EU accession negotiations, with the Committee Chairman stressing that he personally, as well as the members of the Committee on European Affairs, always and everywhere emphasise their support for Serbia's European path. R. Horcsik said that the two governments’ had signed a strategic cooperation agreement in September of this year, crowning the unprecedented level of mutual bilateral relations. Member of the Hungarian Parliament’s Committee on European Affairs H. Juhasz emphasised her readiness to support her Serbian friends in the EU integration process, pointing out that some sceptical countries’ views on the enlargement issue can be influenced through cooperation within the Visegrad Group. R. Horcsik offered the Hungarian Parliament’s concrete assistance through twinning programs and other technical assistance projects which would enable cooperation between the parliaments at the political and administrative level in terms of strengthening the capacities needed for EU accession.
E. Kovacs informed the members of the Hungarian Parliament about the ongoing procedure of Constitutional amendment, which the citizens would be voting on in the referendum scheduled for 16 January. E. Kovacs stressed that the European Commission needs to tailor the way of how it would apply the new methodology to Serbia's EU accession talks, as well as define the role of the Western Balkan parliaments in the debate on the future of the European Union. She pointed out that all the assessments and recommendations of the European Commission’s 2021 Report on Serbia referring to the work of the National Assembly were noted, that the Report was presented at a Committee sitting and then discussed at the National Assembly Plenum. She said that the National Assembly is actively involved in the implementation of the second phase of the Inter-Party Dialogue with the mediation of the European Parliament, aimed at improving parliamentary standards and reaching a broad inter-party and social consensus on reforms related to Serbia's accession to the European Union, as well as improving the conditions for the elections planned for April of next year. E. Kovacs said she was sure that Hungary would support Serbia’s opening of a negotiation cluster by the end of the year, and expected all 27 EU member states to give a green light. Speaking of the position of national minorities in Serbia, she pointed out that an unfounded claim can often be found in documents of EU institutions that the minorities in Vojvodina have more rights than minorities living in other parts of Serbia.
The European Integration Committee delegation also met with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Oszcar Okros and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Staraj, to discuss the procedure of Constitutional amendment and the upcoming referendum, as well as the reforms conducted in the field of rule of law and coordination of foreign and security policy.
In the meeting with O. Okros, D. Stojkovic pointed out that the cooperation between the two countries has reached a historical maximum which is mostly the result of the excellent cooperation between the two presidents A. Vucic and V. Orban. She emphasised the importance Serbia attaches to the Visegrad Group and the role Hungary has in it as the presiding country. She highlighted the "Little Schengen", now called "Open Balkans", regional cooperation project in the Western Balkans, launched at the initiative of President Vucic, aiming to facilitate the import, export and movement of goods in the Western Balkans and free access to the labour market, as well as joint response to disasters. She emphasised the importance of the Belgrade-Budapest railway construction project and the fact that Hungary is a very important economic and foreign trade partner for Serbia.
In the meeting with State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Staraj, the members of the delegation discussed important aspects of the two countries' foreign policy and security co-operation, as well as regional problems that could at some point destabilise the Western Balkans. P. Staraj pointed out that Serbia has come a long way and now is the time to make concrete progress on the path of European integration, i.e. to open a cluster during the Slovenian presidency of the EU. P. Rajic pointed out that Serbia's European path leads through Hungary and he sincerely believes in the project of a united Europe as a true project of peace and stability. However, there are problems with the EU's double standards as regards unresolved issues in the Balkans. He said he was happy that ordinary citizens could feel the benefits of the excellent cooperation between our two countries, a big coup for Presidents Orban and Vucic, as well as the political activities of the Serbian Progressive Party and the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians. He pointed out that Serbia is very interested in resolving the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina so that Bosnia and Herzegovina could be a successful state in which the Serbian people, as a special entity, would have their rights guaranteed. P. Staraj said that Hungary strongly supports Serbia and advocates the involvement of all interested parties in solving the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that it has always abstained during Pristina's bids for membership in international organizations, which our delegation was especially grateful for.
In all the meetings, the Hungarian side emphasised unequivocal support for Serbia's European path, which is not only declarative but concrete and principled. Both sides agreed that the overall bilateral relations between the two countries are at the highest level, hoping that this dynamics of cooperation would continue even after the elections planned in both countries in the spring of next year.
11.00 - the National Assembly Speaker addresses the conference on the Position of Serbia’s in the Euro-Atlantic Community (National Assembly Building, 14 Kralja Milana Street, Grand Hall)