The Chairperson of the European Integration Committee Elvira Kovacs met today with French Ambassador to Serbia Jean-Louis Falconi to talk about the role of the National Assembly in the European integration process.
First off, Elvira Kovacs thanked the Ambassador for the initiative to have this meeting, stressing the importance of the French Republic within the European Union. She said that the Committee itself is working very hard on considering draft laws and their harmonisation with the acquis communautaire, adding it had recently considered and given a positive opinion to the Proposal of the Negotiating Position of the Republic of Serbia for the Intergovernmental Conference on the Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union for Chapter 10 – Information society and media, and the Proposal of the Negotiating Position of the Republic of Serbia for the Intergovernmental Conference on the Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union for Chapter 19 – Social policy and employment.
Falconi thanked the Committee Chairperson for her kind words about the role of France in the European Union, saying that he has had regular meetings with the Serbian President, Prime Minister and Minister for European Integration which speaks volumes for the Serbian leadership’s openness to dialogue. He went on to say that he followed the consideration of the European Commission 2020 Report on the Republic of Serbia at the session of the National Assembly, adding that France is sincerely committed to EU enlargement and fully supports Serbia’s path to integration. He explained that the introduction of the new EU enlargement methodology is not designed to hinder this process, but to point out the necessity of reform in the countries that want to become members of the Union.
Kovacs said she was glad that the debate on the European Commission Report in the National Assembly plenum, which added to the importance of the topic, was noticed, and that the National Assembly had adopted the European Integration Committee’s conclusions on the Report. At the Ambassador's interest, Kovacs explained the European Integration Committee’s role and manner of work, emphasising that, immediately after the formation of the Government, the Committee invited the Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic to a meeting to discuss the Report on the state of negotiations. Kovacs stated that the role of the Committee and the National Assembly as regards integration is multi-layered and the Assembly had, at the European Commission’s recommendation, stopped the practice of passing laws by urgent procedure. The Committee continued with the practice of reviewing reports of independent regulatory bodies and subsequently adopting conclusions on them. She also pointed out that the dynamics of the National Assembly’s work has changed in several ways, citing as an example the institute of parliamentary questions on the last Thursday of the month where the MPs pose questions to members of the Government, the ministries’ submitting regular reports to the relevant parliamentary committees and regular meetings of the National Assembly Collegium to coordinate operation. Kovacs added that the submitter of a draft law is obliged to accompany it with a report on its harmonisation with the acquis communautaire, and the heads of the relevant committees, as rapporteurs to the plenum, report to the Assembly on the draft laws.
Kovacs went on to explain how the Committee considers the negotiating positions and cooperates with the National Convention on the EU, as representatives of non-governmental organisations which have the right to suggestions which the Committee can present in the form of amendments in the further process.
Kovacs also pointed out the increased number of public hearings in the National Assembly House organised in preparation of new laws or implementation of certain laws. She informed the Ambassador that today the National Assembly hosted the second public hearing on the changes to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia in the field of the judiciary and that said changes would be discussed by the MPs in the plenum on 8 June.
At the end of the meeting, the Ambassador thanked the Committee Chairperson for the explanations concerning the Assembly’s role in the European integration process, adding that he was interested in and open to any questions the MPs might have for him, seeing how France would take over the EU Presidency in the first half of 2022.