Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Diplomatic Forum Students at National Assembly
Today, at the National Assembly House, National Assembly Secretary General Veljko Odalovic spoke with the members of the Diplomatic Forum, student organisation of the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade, and their colleagues from the American University in Brussels, currently in a study visit to Serbia and the region.
The Secretary General briefed the students on the National Assembly’s work in the last four years, as well as the election activities underway on the eve of the election called after the expiration of the current legislature’s full term of office.
In the last four years the National Assembly prioritised the adoption of legislation relating to the European integration process and its harmonisation with EU regulations. The Secretary General was proud to say that the National Assembly had fully met all of the obligations placed before it which is evident in the assessment the European Commission gave of it in December last year. In the 518 days the current legislature spent in session, the National Assembly passed 807 laws and 217 other documents. In addition to systemic laws, it also adopted a number of amendments and modifications to existing legislation, as well as a significant number of ratifications by which Serbia joined numerous international organisations and accepted international standards. He also added that the current legislature did a lot to promote parliamentary diplomacy, starting from the fact that the parliamentarians themselves are able to understand one another and can overcome the obstacles the executive cannot seem to be able to. The fact the in the last four years the National Assembly played host to 57 parliament speakers and state presidents, that it established friendship groups with more than 30 countries, and that the National Assembly hosted the jubilee Annual Session of the OSCE PA all testify to it. The MPs also hosted numerous international gatherings in the country and participated in many gatherings and congresses abroad. The National Assembly also successful cooperates with missions and representative offices of many international organisations in Serbia such as the OSCE Mission, National Democratic Institute, Westminster Foundation and other. The current mandate invested a lot of effort into strengthening the capacities of the National Assembly Service, stressed the Secretary General. The National Assembly also achieved significant progress in transparency evidenced by the fact that it has received recognition from the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection for three years running. The National Assembly’s new Internet page, a detailed Information Booklet on its work, as well as the realisation of the e-parliament project will contribute to the further development of transparency. Of course, 352 National Assembly employees worked on the realisation of all of these activities, stressed the Secretary General.
The students from Belgrade and Brussels, as well as their professor, Jerome Sheridan from the Brussels Centre for European Studies were interested in the separation of powers in Serbia and scope of each of the branches, particulars of the election process such as turnout and monitoring missions of international organisations, details related to the realisation of the e-parliament project, the National Assembly’s priorities in the coming mandate, as well as Serbia’s European integration process and the Kosovo-Metohija issue.
In the course of their visit to the National Assembly, the students were taken on a tour of the National Assembly House where they learned about the history of the edifice and viewed its many works of art.