At the sitting held on 15 December, the members of the European Integration Committee selected a delegation to represent it at the meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), 21-22 January 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The Committee unanimously appointed Committee Deputy Chairperson Elvira Kovacs and Committee member Dragan Sormaz to the delegation.
The continuation of the sitting, held jointly with the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending, was dedicated to the Economic Reform Programme2018-2020.
The Economic Reform Programme 2018-2020 (ERP) was presented by Minister of Finance Dr Dusan Vujovic who said that it was the fourth document of its kind drafted in Serbia and unlike the previous programmes which were based on the harmonization of macro policy, this one collates the macro financial situation and structural reform in one place.
Vujovic added that the drafting methodology was changed, it was abbreviated and now contains clearly defined reform priorities. The purposed on ERP is to improve economic management within the EU accession process i.e. move to coordinate economic policies, structural and fiscal reform, while the general objective is to unite fiscal and structural reform and make it possible to use fiscal reform to strengthen the structural, boost the competitiveness of the national economy, business environment and labour market, achieve financial stability, improve transport and energy, as well as infrastructure and allow for the development of the agricultural and industrial sector, said Minister Vujovic.
This programme contains corrections to the group of priorities i.e. part of it will be the so-called “rolling” programme. The Serbian Government is the one who decides on the ERP which is realized by the Ministry of Finance with the help of the Public Policy Secretariat, Vujovic added. The Minister stressed that representatives of the civil sector gathered in the National Convention on the European Union will also be taking part in the drafting of the programme.
The focus of the ERP will be on fiscal policy to 2020, maintenance of fiscal stability, budgetary reform and the likes. It would also contain the current macroeconomic trends with projections to 2020 where the national economic growth is expected to reach 3.7% of GDP accompanied by a reduction in the national debt and deficit, said the Minister of Finance. He added that it would be good to reduce the national debt to 60% of GDP which is the Maastricht limit and make sure that the growth sources are predictable. The objective is to achieve a deficit of 0.5% of GDP in the medium-term and reduce the deficit and interests in the expenses part of the budget.
The structural reform priority list contains nine areas: public finance management, energy and transport, sector development, combating grey economy, digital economy, trade reform, education and skills, employment and the labour market and social inclusion, poverty reduction and promotion of equal opportunities, said Vujovic. The Minister presented the basic list of priorities for the period 2018-2020 covering tax administration transformation and development of energy infrastructure, transport, development of agricultural households, etc.
After the presentation of ERP, which is still in the drafting stage, the Committee members discussed it with the Minister focusing on structural reform, deficit, economic growth, national debt, uniform regional development, direct incentives for agriculture, infrastructural projects and tax administration reform.
The sitting was attended by the members of the Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee.
The sitting was chaired by Committee Deputy Chairperson Elvira Kovacs, and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Vesna Markovic, MA Dejan Radenkovic, Milimir Vujadinovic, Olivera Pesic, Dusica Stojkovic, Zvonimir Djokic, MA Aleksandra Jerkov, Gordana Comic, Haji Milorad Stosic, Momo Colakovic, Dubravka Filipovski and Nada Lazic.