Thursday, 24 November 2011

Parliamentary Questions in November

On 24 November 2011, in line with article 205, paragraph 1, of the National Assembly Rules of Procedure, the MPs posed various questions to the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

Serbian Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mirko Cvetkovic, Minister of Health Zoran Stankovic, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management Dusan Petrovic, Minister of Justice Snezana Malovic and Minister of Education and Science Zarko Obradovic responded to the MPs’ questions.

MPs Momo Colakovic, Riza Halimi, Velimir Ilic, Vladimir Milentijevic, Dragan Sormaz, Vladan Jeremic, Srdjan Mikovic, Miroslav Markicevic, Milos Aligrudic, Boris Aleksic, Srdjan Milivojevic, Zlata Djeric, Dejan Mirovic, Milan Nikolic and Srboljub Zivanovic asked the questions.

On the behalf of the PUPS parliamentary group, MP Momo Colakovic asked when the debt to agricultural pensioners would be settled.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic responded that the last instalment for agricultural pensioners, which is an old debt, has been secured and was expected to be paid in December.

MP Riza Halimi asked whether the Government considered that the request for demilitarisation could compound the security situation in the south of Serbia, citing the Report of the Military Security Agency (VBA) Director Svetko Kovac.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic warned the MP that he cannot comment on a Report marked as top secret.

MP Velimir Ilic asked why the pages of the published the contract with Fiat were blotted out. The MP asked whether it was true that State Secretary Homen was the Government representative for “Satellite” and whether his mother’s office defended the accused in the case, Mr. Davinic. MP Ilic asked the Minister of Health why the Ministry of Health did not assist leukaemia patients citing the example of a patient from Ivanjica.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic explained that FIAT, as the second contract party, believed that some things should not be made public and wanted to keep some parts of the contracts a commercial secret. Prime Minister Cvetkovic reminded the MP that the Government inherited the “Satellite” case and managed to, following the final decision in the arbitrage, reduce the amount it had to pay.

Minister of Health Zoran Stankovic explained that said leukaemia patient has already been to Italy for a bone-marrow transplant, that so far 38 thousand EUR of the 120 thousand EUR needed has been collected and that the written documentation has already been forwarded to the competent service at the Republic Health Insurance Fund.

MP Vladimir Milentijevic asked why the Government had not forwarded a declaration on the situation arisen in Kosovo-Metohija to the National Assembly and whether the Government planned to submit any declaration the MPs’ might discuss.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic explained that the Government has prepared and submitted what was expected of it according to the previous Resolution, which the National Assembly had the opportunity to debate. As far as the future is concerned, the Government is ready to prepare a new paper, but it requests everyone’s support for it considering that this is an issue of state-wide importance.

In his additional question, MP Milentijevic stated that in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Pristina has already secured its citizenship, driver’s licenses and license plates, as well as a Kosovo Supreme Court, while the agreement did not allow the Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija the possibility to have any of the above. Milentijevic wanted to know how the Government can explain that it had not recognised Kosovo in face of these facts, and whether the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, Resolution 1244 and all the declarations passed by the National Assembly have been violated.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic repeated that the Government would not make a single step toward recognising Kosovo, implicitly or explicitly, as it has determined and announced.

MP Dragan Sormaz had several questions about corruption in Serbia.

Minister of Justice Snezana Malovic reminded the MPs that the Government set itself five work goals in 2008. One of the five goals was to intensify the fight against organised crime, crime in general and corruption. Since is establishment to the present the Government demonstrated it commitment to the goal by concrete actions, stressed Malovic adding that the Law on the Seizure of Property Stemming from Criminal Acts was adopted as far back as 2008 the implementation of which has resulted in the confiscation of more than 250-million-Euro-worth of criminal proceeds. The Minister stated that, even though she was ready to discuss some cases of corruption, the pre-trial procedures cannot be the topic of conversation except within the police and prosecutor’s office as the authorities in charge of the investigation.

MP Vladan Jeremic asked about the reasons for cutting the electrical power to Serbs in the north of Kosovo-Metohija i.e. what the state panned to do in the matter.

The National Assembly Speaker informed the MP that he would receive a written answer to his question.

MP Srdjan Mikovic had two questions. Mikovic wanted to know, considering that copyright is a standard in Europe and the world, whether, since there are disputes between associations of musical authors (e.g. SOKOJ) and other and RTS as the national service regarding the execution or non-execution of obligations to authors, that might have a negative impact on Serbia’s image, and whether something has been done to settle the dispute. The second question related to the ratification process of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, how many countries have ratified the Agreement so far and when the process was expected to be completed.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic explained that the MP would receive a written answer to his first question. To the second question, the Prime Minister said that only two or three countries have not ratified the document yet, adding that France had ratified the Agreement that day.

MP Miroslav Markicevic asked why, in the process of adopting the 2011 budget rebalance, the amendment he submitted wanting to secure budgetary funds for the construction of a day care centre for special needs children in Cacak was rejected.

The Prime Minister informed the MP that the case has been taken under consideration and would be resolved.

MP Milos Aligrudic wanted to know, when the ordinance on the special manner of processing the data in the registry books for the territory of AP Kosovo-Metohija was passed, what the attitude of certain competent ministers was, and about the position of the Ministry of Justice regarding the ordinance.

Minister Malovic explained her personal position, considering that the Ministry of Justice was the submitter of said ordinance. Malovic confirmed that she was in favour of the ordinance seeing how she proposed it.

As his additional question, MP Aligrudic asked why and on what basis i.e. on what legal grounds Minister Malovic proposed and the Government passed such an ordinance.

Minister Malovic explained that the Ministry of Justice proposed the ordinance because the Ministry of Justice is in charge of implementing the Law on Personal Data Protection adopted by the National Assembly in 2008, as it was also its submitter.

MP Boris Aleksic asked why the Government imposed sanctions against Serbs in the north of Kosovo, why their supply of electrical power was restricted, who managed the Electric Power Industry of Serbia and why they had VAT imposed on them.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic stressed that all the MP’s allegations were false. Cvetkovic explained that not only had the Government not imposed sanctions, but it was employing its full capacity to assist the Serbian citizens living there, adding that the Government provided both direct financial assistance and all other types of assistance. Cvetkovic confirmed that there are no sanctions whatsoever.

In the additional question MP Aleksic asked for an explanation why the Government had not defused the air-bomb which had fallen on the territory of the Municipality of Zvezdara in 1999. He asked the Minister of Health why there was no healthcare strategy aimed at the consequences of the 1999 bombings, and why zeolite had not been disposed of on the same terrain where the depleted uranium was dumped.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic responded that he was not aware that there was such a great danger and if it were true the funds to defuse the air-bomb would be secured. Minister Stankovic explained to the MP that the Military Medical Academy (VMA) was implementing a strategy in several testing directions, primarily on children – to ascertain whether the depleted uranium has had any consequences. In addition, the Institute of Preventive Medical Protection is giving physicals to everyone i.e. army personnel, reserves and populace who had come in contact with the ammunition containing depleted uranium. At the same time, a comprehensive study on the post-traumatic stress syndrome of the bombings is being prepared, explained Stankovic.

MP Srdjan Milivojevic asked Prime Minister Cvetkovic about at what stage the initiative to construct the highway Pojate-Krusevac-Cacak was. Milivojevic also asked, since a law on the employment of disabled people was passed, how they could be given preference in the employment process.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic explained that the Government was reviewing which infrastructural projects should be considered a priority and how to secure funds to begin works mainly on the stretch the MP listed. Cvetkovic added that the talks on the financing of said road have advanced quite a bit, also emphasising the importance of Corridor 11.

MP Zlata Djeric asked when the farmers might expect the payment of the pensions they were owed. The MP wanted to know whether the Government managed to complete the rehabilitation of the schools damaged in the Kraljevo earthquake. The MP also asked, because she heard the Vinca was waiting for a use permit to become a nuclear waste dump, who was responsible for the issuance of such a permit.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic explained that, since the farmers’ pensions were individually relatively small, the payment of outstanding pensions has been divided into a number of instalments so that one instalment would contain several monthly pensions with the exception of one large instalment which would be paid in December and the amount would be increased by the appropriate interest rate. Minister Obradovic explained to the MP that, with the hep of the Serbian economy, the Government managed to repair the schools enough to ensure that classes may take place in them. Obradovic mentioned that the situation in several schools remained unresolved. The MP will receive a written answer to her last question.

MP Dejan Mirovic asked whether there was a cost benefit analysis of the importance of EU accession and gaining candidate status.

Prime Minister Cvetkovic explained that the EU has an alternative, but that the EU is still the best alternative for Serbia and its future

MP Milan Nikolic drew attention to the difficult position of raspberry farmers in Serbia and asked Minister Petrovic whether the final buyout price would be 126 RSD.

Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management Dusan Petrovic informed the MPs of the measures and plans of the Ministry which has daily meetings and serious technical discussions on how to collect all the elements necessary to create a wholly new policy regarding raspberry farmers. The policy would include securing fertilizers for the raspberry farmers, and necessities for the cooling facilities with economic problems. Minister Petrovic was sure that this year’s situation would not be repeated not only as regards raspberry farmers but fruit farming as a whole.

MP Srboljub Zivanovic asked how many employees the Industry of Farming Machinery and Tractors IMT – IMR and Zmaj have, how big their annual production was for both the foreign and domestic market, and how many tractors were imported by Serbia. The MP asked Prime Minister Cvetkovic how many state-owned enterprises had been privatised more than once only to have their privatisation contracts broken and what the reasons were for the breaking of said contracts. Zivanovic asked the Minister of Education and Science what was being done to suppress paedophilia.

Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management Dusan Petrovic responded that the MP would receive specific data regarding the situation in IMT in writing from the Ministry of Economy. As regards subsidies for the purchase of tractors, Petrovic explained that the Ministry of Economy has been conducting the subsidy programme for three years and the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management was currently in charge of the subsidized credit funds. Prime Minister Cvetkovic said that between 20 and 25% of the privatisations were unsuccessful. Cvetkovic explained that an unsuccessful privatisation was one where the privatisation contract had not been honoured and that such a contract was then broken by the Privatisation Agency and the enterprise returned to state ownership. The reasons leading to the breaking of a contract are disrespect of contractual obligations by the buyer. Minister Obradovic said that the cases of paedophilia were single and isolated considering the number of students and teaching staff. Obradovic stressed that if an educational inspection and fact confirm such cases, the perpetrated act is followed by appropriate sanctions.

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monday, 18 october
  • 11.30 - the National Assembly Speaker takes part in the on-line meeting of the EP facilitated Inter-Party Dialogue (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, library)

  • 12.30 - the National Assembly Speaker makes press statement (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)

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