Thursday, 13 July 2006

26th sitting of the Poverty Reduction Committee

At a sitting held on 13 July, the Poverty Reduction Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia discussed the Associations Bill, regulating the establishment and legal status of associations, their membership and bodies, status changes, termination of activities, and other issues of importance for the work of an association.



At a sitting held on 13 July, the Poverty Reduction Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia discussed the Associations Bill, regulating the establishment and legal status of associations, their membership and bodies, status changes, termination of activities, and other issues of importance for the work of an association. The explanation of the Bill, provided by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, states that one of the reasons for adopting it is that Serbia’s legal framework for the establishment and activities of associations is currently rather disjointed, a reflection of the various (and politically, socially, and economically completely different) periods current laws were adopted in.

Representatives of both non-governmental and social organisations had been invited to attend the sitting.

Opening the sitting, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Predrag Markovic, said that the bill had been in preparation for years, and that it was very important for it to be adopted as soon as possible in order for a framework to regulate the functioning of all associations to be provided. Mr Markovic said that Serbia had two obligations, to build state institutions and to ensure, at the same time, that the non-governmental sector functions well; there are, according to Mr Markovic, no fail-safe mechanisms to implement these two processes. He added that non-governmental organisations were the ‘leaven’ of education and the spread of new ideas, aspects, and possibilities to organise segments of social life that fall outside the scope of government institutions. The law should be such as to clearly separate the non-governmental sector from government institutions to prevent their being politicised, Markovic concluded.

Vesna Ilic-Prelic, State Secretary of the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government, presented the bill to the deputies and other attendees, saying that it enshrined the equal rights of all organisations.

Ms Ilic-Prelic said that a lengthy public discussion, taken part in by representatives of all relevant associations, left the issue of property unresolved. The bill’s transitional provisions stipulate that state- and socially-owned immovable property used by social organisations should become state-owned property on the day the law comes into force; local authorities would be granted rights to use such property.

Officials of numerous social organisations taking part in the roundtable disagreed with this solution.

The sitting was chaired by the chairperson of the Poverty Reduction Committee, Snezana Stojanovic-Plavsic...


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