Monday, 9 October 2006

German MPs visit National Assembly

The Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Gordana Comic, and Committee member Boris Karaicic today met Lydia Westrich, SPD MP in the German Bundestag, and a group of Berlin University professors.



The Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Gordana Comic, and Committee member Boris Karaicic today met Lydia Westrich, SPD MP in the German Bundestag, and a group of Berlin University professors.

The meeting heard that economic and social growth were increasingly based on knowledge and the contribution of young and educated people to positive changes in all walks of life. The German Government and Parliament were ready, the visitors said, to foster inter-university co-operation and make it possible for Serbian young people, especially science students, to be educated in Germany and become acquainted with German experiences, and then to use this knowledge in Serbia.

Speaking of the current political situation in Serbia, Ms Comic said that the country was facing issues previously encountered by all transition countries. Even with rising GDP and industrial production rates and the adoption of numerous reform laws, there is still no room for new jobs, and unemployment is rising. She added that government institutions were still fragile, which was causing various problems, primarily corruption.

Ms Comic expressed her expectation that the referendum to confirm the new Constitution would succeed, as the new Constitution was a step forward in relation to the current one, and reflected Serbia’s efforts to join the European Union and the acceptance of European heritage and values. In addition, parliamentary elections would be called immediately after the Constitution was confirmed, she added.

Ms Comic also underlined that Serbia was interested in the speedy resumption of negotiations on joining the European Union, which would give an additional impetus to democratic forces. She also stressed Serbia’s commitment to regional co-operation and stability, as well as the wish to see faster changes to stereotypes surrounding Serbia that had been created over the past years.

The meeting concluded that Serbia was one of Serbia’s main trading partners, but that the potential for co-operation in the field was far from being fully utilised.

On the same day, a National Assembly delegation, headed by Ms Comic, met a German delegation led by Karin Kortmann, Parliamentary State Secretary with the Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Serbian delegation was comprised of deputies Vojkan Tomic, Dusan Prorokovic, Milos Jevtic, and Milka Silaev.

The talks focused on an exchange of opinions on the political situation in Serbia, the new Constitution, and upcoming elections.

Ms Kortmann emphasised that the German Government would assist Serbia in its integration into the European Union, but that full co-operation with the Hague Tribunal was a precondition for this. As for bilateral co-operation, according to her, Germany had provided 38 million Euros in donations and loans to Serbia, primarily aimed at increasing energy efficiency and helping small and medium-sized enterprises.

Serbian delegation members expressed their conviction that obstacles to co-operation with Germany would be removed quickly, which would make for greater direct investment into Serbia’s economy. They especially focused on making it possible for young people from Serbia to freely travel throughout European Union member states.



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