22 June 2019 The National Assembly’s standing delegation to the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly at the organisation’s 6th plenary session

22 June 2019 The National Assembly’s standing delegation to the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly at the organisation’s 6th plenary session

Saturday, 22 June 2019

SEECP PA Plenary Session

The National Assembly’s standing delegation to the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly (SEECP PA), took part in the organization’s 6th plenary session, held on 21-22 June 2019 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The National Assembly’s delegation comprised Dr Sci.med Darko Laketic and Marko Parezanovic. The SEECP PA plenary is the main event of the parliamentary dimension of the Bosnian Chairmanship of SEECP, which formally ends with a meeting of foreign ministers and summit of heads of states and governments in Sarajevo on 8-9 July 2019.

The plenary was attended by parliamentary delegations led by the heads of parliaments/delegations of the ten SEECP member states, plus representatives of Pristina. The plenary meeting was preceded by meetings of the three general committees and the Standing Committee on 21 June. In the meetings, the general committees elected chairs for the coming year, while the Standing Committee worked on the text of the Draft Declaration. The National Assembly delegation submitted an amendment to the Draft Declaration stressing the importance of the free movement of goods, people, services and capital in the region as the engine of economic growth and integration with the wider European market, with special focus on the full implementation of CEFTA by all the signatories.

In the SEECP PA plenary session, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina Borjana Kristo, the participants emphasized the importance of the regional organization which should contribute to its connectivity and, ultimately, EU accession. Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Almir Sahovic presented the priorities of the Bosnian chairmanship, with the logo “Better connectivity for better life”, and previously conducted activities, stressing the importance of cooperation in South East Europe for a better economic connectivity of the region.

Speaking on the topic “Better connectivity for better life – how to achieve real change in the regional cooperation process?”, the head of the National Assembly delegation Dr Sci.med Darko Laketic stressed that without regional cooperation, there can be no progress toward the European Union. In that sense, the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly contributes to the political stabilization and creation of better economic conditions in the region. Laketic said that the leaders of the region must take full responsibility and avoid and denounce any statement and/or action that would fan the tensions, as well as actively oppose any type of violence. Education must be more of a priority especially in promoting tolerance, European values and social cohesion. The Western Balkans should invest more in its younger generation, the future citizens of the EU, and give them prospects for the future, not the past. The regional economic area is crucial for the advancement of economic integration between the EU and the Western Balkans and for the promotion of the attractiveness of the regional market. Laketic emphasized the importance of CEFTA which had enabled the creation of the free trade zone in South east Europe and is a preparation for all the EU candidates and potential candidates to, once they become members of the European family, already have established standards of free trade in goods, labour and capital. He said that all the CEFTA signatories fully respect and apply what they had signed because this creates a systemic and transparent business environment and non-discriminatory market access, and, by eliminating needles customs fees, attracts foreign partners and investments. The dynamics of Euro-integration is important for maintaining the momentum of reform in the EU candidates.

Laketic stressed that the European Union must remain consistent as regards respecting the principles and policy of dialogue and compromise and not be silent in the face of challenges in the region that threaten to destabilize the area. He reminded the attending that the Republic of Serbia had, in good faith, made some very tough decisions in its dialogue with Pristina and the Brussels Agreement and done all in its power to come to a compromise and continue the dialogue, but apparently there is not such will on the other side. Despite challenges and provocations, such as the most recent brutal attack of ROSU on the four Serb municipalities in the north of Kosovo-Metohija on 28 May, Serbia will continue to approach all outstanding issues peacefully and soberly, with due respect of international law and commitment to the principle of dialogue. Laketic said that Serbia expects the EU as mediator in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue to influence the revocation of the 100% customs tariffs on products from central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. When that happens, the dialogue, which is the only way to a mutually acceptable solution, can continue. The priority in that effort remains preserving peace and stability as the only prerequisite of regional development and prosperity of the peoples, Laketic concluded.

The participants of the SEECP PA plenary adopted the reports and resolutions of all three general committees. The SEECP PA Declaration was not adopted because the attending could not come to a consensus on the proposed text and submitted amendments.

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