20 March 2015 Participants of the third meeting of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee
Friday, 20 March 2015
Third Meeting of European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee
The National Assembly House hosted the third meeting of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, comprising National Assembly MPs and MEPs, on 19 and 20 March 2015.
The meeting was co-chaired by Dr Vladimir Orlic, Chairman of the National Assembly delegation to SAPC, and Eduard Kukan, Chairman of the EP delegation to SAPC.
Opening the third meeting, Dr Vladimir Orlic said he hoped it would result in useful conclusions, adding that he was sure that the European Parliament would continue to assist Serbia on the road to the European Union. In conclusion, Orlic stressed that Serbia’s strategic goal is set – EU accession.
Addressing the participants of the meeting, Eduard Kukan said that the National Assembly MPs and MEPs are equally responsible for the European integration process and that the EP fully supports Serbia’s European integration process. Kukan commended the efforts Serbian Government has invested into European integration and the progress Serbia has made, adding it was crucial that it continued its reforms.
In the introductory part the participants were addressed by Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration Jadranka Joksimovic who said that the Serbian citizens had taken a balanced position on the European integration process, that they understand the obligations as well as the benefits of EU membership. Joksimovic stressed the importance of Serbia’s internal reform with which the country is trying to improve its economic environment and create better living conditions for its citizens. The Minister said that Serbia is dedicated to fostering good-neighbourly relations and improving regional cooperation and is ready to resolve all open issues by dialogue.
The participants then proceeded to discuss the state of play of the accession negotiations and EU-Serbia relations. The parliamentarians exchanged views with Minister of Justice Nikola Selakovic, Director General of the European Commission Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Christian Danielsson and Latvian Ambassador to Serbia Ivars Pundurs.
On the first day of the proceedings, the parliamentarians discussed EU pre-accession assistance to Serbia - lessons learned from the European Court of Auditors' Special Report 19/2014 and Serbia's preparations to open negotiation on chapters 23 and 24 (including the situation of national minorities).
Dr Vladimir Orlic briefed the participants on the adopted reform laws in the areas of judiciary, fight against corruption and organized crime and the laws protecting the rights of minorities in Serbia.
On the second day, 20 March, the participants discussed the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, regional cooperation and developments in economy. MP Zoran Babic, one of the keynote speakers, stressed that Serbia has a pro-active approach to participation in regional forums, highlighting the country’s commitment to the European integration process. However, he drew attention to the high unemployment rate which is a common problem of all the Western Balkan countries and appealed, that on the road to the European Union, the countries do not forget their citizens.
At the end of the two-day meeting the participants adopted a Declaration and Recommendations.
The next meeting of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee will be held on 8 and 9 October 2015, in Strasbourg or Brussels.