The Chairperson of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues Jelena Zaric Kovacevic met with the Head of the Council of Europe Mission in Belgrade Tobias Flessenkemper to discuss the Committee’s scope and the Constitutional amendment procedure.
Jelena Zaric Kovacevic stated that the Proposal to amend the Constitution is submitted in writing and the competent committee determines whether the proposal was submitted by a submitter authorised by the Constitution and in the prescribed form. She added that the competent committee then submits a proposal of the act to amend the Constitution and a proposal of the constitutional law to conduct the amendment of the Constitution to the National Assembly Speaker, who immediately submits the proposals to the MPs. In the event that the National Assembly, according to the Constitution, is obliged to put an act amending the Constitution to a republican referendum for confirmation, the National Assembly shall make a decision on calling a referendum to confirm said act.
She further explained that the National Judicial Reform Strategy identified the need to amend the Constitution in the part related to the influence of the legislative and executive authorities on the process of electing and dismissing judges, court presidents, public prosecutors, or deputy public prosecutors, as well as elective members of the High Judicial Council and the State Prosecutorial Council, specifying the role and position of the Judicial Academy, as a mechanism for entering the judiciary. The need to amend the Constitution in the part related to the judiciary was also confirmed in the Judicial Development Strategy for the period 2020-2025 adopted by the Government on 10 July 2020.
The Action Plan for Chapter 23, passed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia in 2016 and revised on 10 July 2020, envisages the implementation of specific actions defined in accordance with the European Commission’s recommendations set out in the Screening Report on Negotiation Chapter 23, said the Committee Chairperson.
The Head of the Council of Europe Mission in Belgrade congratulated Jelena Zaric Kovacevic on being elected the Chairperson of the Committee, emphasising the potentially historic role in this position, in monitoring the process of amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia since 2006.
He said that the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade offers expertise by conducting 14 projects in the field of human rights, combating money laundering and corruption, freedom of the media, national minorities, non-discrimination, rule of law and local self-government. This includes the Horizontal Facility programme jointly conducted by the European Union and the Council of Europe, oriented towards meeting the requirements and implementing reforms in the field of human rights, rule of law and democracy in order to achieve European standards, within the EU enlargement process.
Flessenkemper said that the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade is ready to assist the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in everything, including participation in public hearings and providing information to the general public on Council of Europe standards.