Monday, 28 June 2021

National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic at EP Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) Meeting

National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic spoke at the meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs today.


THE FOLLOWING IS THE SPEECH OF THE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA IN ITS ENTIRETY:

Honorable Chairman,
Distinguished members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Distinguished colleagues, Speakers of Parliaments in the region,
Dear Standing Rapporteurs and heads of European Parliament delegations,

Allow me to greet you on behalf of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, to thank President Sassoli for establishing this important format of dialogue between the Speakers of Parliament and members of the European Parliament, as well as Mr. McAllister for this meeting with the Foreign Policy Committee, hoping to maintain the continuity of our meetings. I am firmly committed to establishing even more intensive communication between our parliaments and the European Parliament, to broadening the lines of existing cooperation and making them even more frequent and efficient.

You will agree with me, I hope, that our relations should not be reduced to waiting for the annual report and the resolution of the European Parliament to see the objections to, as well as praise of our work, and to communicate only on that basis for the next year, pending a new report. Believe me, this is the dominant impression of our cooperation in Serbia, and I assume that the situation is similar in the rest of our region. I believe that we need to build partnerships that will be based on mutual understanding and trust and that will contribute to our more expedient and efficient integration process.

We must keep in mind, and I am afraid that sometimes we all forget about it, that parliaments are the main hubs of our path to full membership in the Union. We need strong, partnership relations, where you will pass on all the necessary knowledge and experience related to the accession process, because these experiences are still fresh for many in the European Parliament, and we desperately need them. The role of parliaments in the accession process is extremely important, because all reform projects and processes must at some point get their legal form, which is possible only through the parliament, its bodies and through a democratic and transparent procedure.

We already have certain permanent channels of communication and they work well, for example the Joint Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, which meets twice a year. I also view the missions of the European Parliament’s rapporteurs, as very useful for both sides. And it is precisely because of these good experiences that I advocate that the talks of our parliamentary representatives with the European Parliament committees become a kind of permanent forum, where we would further improve our communication and speed up some reform processes.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to briefly inform you about some important processes that have been completed or are still taking place under the auspices of the National Assembly of Serbia, which are directly related to the activities of the European Parliament and the European Union in general. First of all, we have entered the process of amending the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia in the part relating to the election of judicial office holders, which is one of the most important reform steps in fulfilling the criteria for membership in the Union. After several rounds of public debates and the Parliament’s decision to change the Constitution, we expect the text of constitutional amendments soon, then a new vote by our Assembly and then a referendum in which our citizens will vote on the changes. I am convinced that we will shortly have new constitutional provisions in the field of the judiciary which will complete a complex reform work.

At the same time, with the support of a group of members of the European Parliament, an inter-party dialogue is being held within our Assembly on improving the election conditions, considering that a new election cycle awaits us next year. These talks are taking place in a democratic atmosphere, a large number of political organisations are participating in them, and I am optimistic that we will reach a solution that will further improve the democracy and transparency of our election process.

As for the European Parliament’s recommendations from the Resolution adopted in March, as well as the Parliament and Commission’s earlier reports, I can inform you that we take all of them extremely responsibly and try to implement them as efficiently as possible. I will mention only some of them, present in several reports of both the Parliament and the Commission, concerning the reduction in the number of laws passed by urgent procedure, greater transparency and general improvement of the efficiency of the National Assembly. During the last year, only 9% of the total number of adopted laws were passed by urgent procedure, while 91% were passed by regular procedure. Since the beginning of this year, the Assembly has adopted 21 laws and all of them were passed by regular procedure, which is why we can say that we have fulfilled the European recommendations in that sense in full. Public hearings in the National Assembly have become regular practice, while independent institutions regularly present reports on their work. I hope that these facts will be noted as positive in some of the European institutions’ next reports.

I am convinced, ladies and gentlemen, that at least as far as the Republic of Serbia is concerned, there is a lot of room to speed up our accession process. Of course, the main impetus comes from ourselves and we are aware that we can do it faster, but there is room for even greater efficiency within the European Union and its Parliament as one of the most important partners in this process. In that respect, I assure you that we are open to even more intensive cooperation and any kind of support from you, because in the end we share a common goal.

Thank you for your attention!



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monday, 15 august
  • 11.00 - press conference of MP MA Ivan Kostic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)

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