National Assembly Deputy Speaker and European Integration Committee Chairperson Elvira Kovacs met today at the National Assembly with members of the French Parliament Liliana Tanguy and Pierre-Henri Dumont, currently in official visit to the Republic of Serbia.
Kovacs said that the European Integration Committee is one of the National Assembly’s most active bodies, working primarily on the harmonisation of domestic legislation with the EU acquis, but also very active in regional forums and joint activities with EU Member States, such as COSAC. She added that it would also be significant to intensify cooperation with the colleagues from the French Parliament’s Committee for European Affairs bearing in mind France’s continuous interest in the European integration of Serbia and the entire Western Balkans.
French parliamentarians Liliana Tanguy and Pierre-Henri Dumont were interested in how the European Integration Committee views the dynamics of Serbia’ EU accession talks and the idea of the European Political Community.
Elvira Kovacs said that the European Commission has suggested opening Cluster 3 for the second time running, but the message coming from some EU Member States is that this will not happen until Serbia has aligned its foreign policy with the European. “We are trying to explain, through parliamentary diplomacy, why Serbia has not yet imposed sanctions toward Russia”, said Kovacs, adding that the European side shows no understanding for the fact that, unlike the EU Member States, Serbia still depends on Russian gas, even though it is working on energy diversification. There is also a growing Euroscepticism among the citizenry as a consequence of the long European integration process and the feeling that new conditions keep being set before Serbia, while the reform processes are undervalued. The situation calls for better ties with the media so that all the benefits of European integration could be presented better, as well as the concrete impact on the quality of life, opined the European Integration Committee Chairperson and added that the Committee plans to hold a number of sessions outside of the National Assembly seat, in local communities, so as to bring the importance of the European integration closer to the citizens.
Kovacs also said that, from the very beginning, Serbia has been supporting the idea of the European Political Community, but that it is important that this is not a “consolation prize” and substitute for full EU membership. “We are aware of the current geopolitical situation in Europe, the impact of the War in Ukraine, and we are trying to bring the EU’s focus back to the Western Balkans”, said Elvira Kovacs, stressing that it is vital that Serbia and the region receive certain concrete positive signals, such as the establishment of a free market.
Opining that the European integration process is a two-way street and that its dynamics depends on Serbia, as well as the EU itself, the European Integration Committee Chairperson said that the EU often does not have understanding for Serbia’s position and that the support of influential EU states, such as France, is very important for our country.