11 July 2016 The delegation of the National Assembly in meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland

11 July 2016 The delegation of the National Assembly in meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

National Assembly Delegation Meets with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland

A National Assembly delegation met with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, currently visiting Serbia.

At the beginning of the meeting the attending were greeted by H.E. US Ambassador in Belgrade Kyle Scott who then turned the floor over to the US Assistant Secretary of State who first addressed the National Assembly delegation with words of support of the United States of America for Serbia’s progress toward full EU membership. At the same time she conveyed her country’s concern about the UK’s decision to quit the EU, stressing the need to strengthen relations between the US and Europe. “We have to stick together, to grow stronger because the world faces considerable challenges”, said Nuland.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic said that full EU membership is Serbia’s strategic goal and the new government’s priority would again be to reach the highest standards in the spheres of economy, economic development, regional cooperation and to attract foreign investment.

“We continue to conduct economic reforms and want to cooperate with the market at large, and we also hope to strengthen the already excellent cooperation with US companies. Also, Mrs Nuland, I would like to thank you personally because it is thanks to you that the US still focuses on our region”, said Deputy Speaker Marinkovic.

On the behalf of the Bosniak Democratic Community of Sandzak, Muamer Zukorlic presented his party’s principles based chiefly on reconciliation, primarily of Bosniaks and Serbs. He informed Nuland about his being elected Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Education, Science, Technological Development and the Information Society, saying that he was sure he could greatly contribute to the field and singling out education as the key to a better future and change.

Dr Dijana Vukomanovic of the Socialist Party of Serbia said that the delegation present at the meeting with its show of political and religious pluralism best represents the Serbian Parliament. She believes that Serbia has extended a great many good will gestures toward improving regional cooperation and also successfully responded to global problems such as the migrant crisis. Vukomanovic emphasised the important role women play in the process of reconciliation and improvement of regional relations through the networking of Belgrade and Pristina women MPs, adding that this type of cooperation and communication reflects really well onto the youth in the region.

On the behalf of the Democratic Party Natasa Vuckovic said that cooperation between the US and Serbia is of paramount importance.

“We see real changes happening in society and as opposition we want to support them. That is why we support the government on the path of Euro-integration”, said Vuckovic. She believes that the opposition should insist on critical partnership with the government and expressed her displeasure at the situation in the media, stressing the need to invest more into developing the institutions.

Sanda Raskovic Ivic presented the Democratic Party of Serbia as Euro-sceptic, but not Euro-phobic. She believes that Serbia’s EU accession is a bad idea which does not offer better developmental prospects. Still, she said that the Democratic Party of Serbia is in favour of upholding European values, stressing that the government is criticised only when DSS believes these values to be violated.

Vladimir Orlic of the Serbian Progressive Party thanked the US for its support of Serbia which he believes to be a confirmation that Serbia has chosen the right path, as well as of the results it has achieved.

“It is a great pleasure to hear commendations for the fiscal economic consolidation and that we are the most attractive country for investments”, said Orlic.

Marija Obradovic, Vice-President of the Serbian Progressive Party, hopes that Mrs Nuland will leave the National Assembly with the knowledge that Serbia is not giving up on European integration.

“Our party won 49% of the votes which is vast support for the policy we pursued and will continue to pursue, and all the Parliament needs is a little more enthusiasm and energy for the European path”, concluded Obradovic.

Victoria Nuland thanked the delegation for the in-depth report, saying that it truly reflected all of the Parliament’s passion and opinions, and especially commending the fact that even the self-declared Euro-sceptics support European rights.

“The relations are fragile here, and this needs to be a strong part of the Balkans. We heard that you are working on bringing the young generations together, and your mentorship is truly significant for the youth”, said Nuland.

She also commended the efforts and results achieved by the National Assembly as regards interparliamentary cooperation, which, Nuland said, is a leader in the region in that field.

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