8 July 2016 The members of the European Integration Committee in meeting with the members of the EP group “Friends of Serbia”

8 July 2016 The members of the European Integration Committee in meeting with the members of the EP group “Friends of Serbia”

Friday, 8 July 2016

European Integration Committee Members Meet with MEPs, Members of “Friends of Serbia”

The members of the European Integration Committee received a delegation of European parliamentarians, members of the EP group “Friends of Serbia”, headed by Romanian MEP Emilian Pavel.

The officials applauded the announced opening of chapters 23 and 24 in July, pleased that the EU enlargement policy goes on despite the situation caused by the UK referendum. They also opined that the opening of the chapters will add momentum to Serbia’s integration process and improve the citizens’ attitude toward the EU.

Committee Chairperson Marinika Tepic opined that this first visit by European parliamentarians to the Committee after its constitution comes at an important time for Serbia since the negotiations process for chapters 23 and 24 is the longest and hardest and applauded the support Serbia will in that process have from the group “Friends of Serbia”. She said that Serbia is ready to open other chapters as well and to implement action plans.

Chairperson Tepic informed the European parliamentarians that the majority of MPs in the current legislature endorse Serbia’s European integration, even though the Parliament also has some Eurosceptic parties. She presented the role of the National Assembly and the Committee in the negotiation process, especially the discussion of Serbia’s negotiating positions by chapter in cooperation with the civil and non-governmental sector through the National Convention which comprises more than 600 organisations.

“We follow the developments in the EU very closely and we are concerned about the same things as the member states, from the migrant and the financial crisis to the Brexit fallout, and we see the opening of the chapters as an recognition to all the previous Governments who had led Serbia to the EU in the last 16 years”, said Tepic.

The head of the “Friends of Serbia” delegation, Emilian Pavel welcomed Serbia’s readiness to open other negotiation chapters, besides 23 and 24, and continue to implement reforms. He added that the effects of Brexit are a very important issue in the EU, and a challenge that only a unified Union can overcome.

The members of “Friends of Serbia” Franc Bogovic, Eduard Kukan, Tanja Fajon, Andor Deli and Paul Tang said that they truly believe in Serbia’s and the entire Western Balkans’ European future. They underlined the importance of regional cooperation through the Berlin Process, and asked Serbia to use Slovakia’s Presidency of the Union in the next six months as best it can, adding that the country can count on the support of “Friends of Serbia”.

They also highlighted the importance of dialogue with the citizens about the EU integration process, the signal the opening of the negotiations chapters sends toinvestors and the importance of media freedom and the rule of law.

In addition to Committee Chairperson Marinika Tepic, the meeting was also attended by Committee members Elvira Kovacs, Zarko Micin, Branko Ruzic, Natasa Vuckovic, Vesna Markovic, Dusica Stojkovic, Muamer Bacevac, Zvonimir Djokic, Aleksandar Stevanovic, Haji Milorad Stocic, and MP Vladimir Orlic, co-chairman of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee in the previous legislature.

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