10 February 2014 Representatives of the European Integration Committee in meeting with the delegation of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Monday, 10 February 2014
European Integration Committee Members Meet with Delegation of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in European Parliament
In the course of the meeting, the members of the delegation of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, visiting Serbia under the auspices of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, offered full support to Serbia’s pre-accession talks with the European Union expecting Serbia to be the next Western Balkan country to follow Croatia and become an EU member.
Knut Fleckenstein, member of the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, stressed the importance of political and social consensus for Serbia’s EU accession process. He believes that the inclusion of the civil sector into the European integration process is the next important step because understanding the process could secure civil support for its implementation and some unpopular but necessary measures. Swoboda underlined the importance of the forthcoming three processes: reform of the private and public sector and normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. He stressed that few countries had had to deal with such big and difficult issues as Serbia, adding that its courage to tackle them was commendable.
European Integration Committee Chairperson Natasa Vuckovic said that both the politicians and citizens are very aware of the importance of the reform, however adding that it is just as important, if not more, to avoid introducing certain standards and then losing continuity in their implementation. Speaking of parliamentary cooperation, the Committee Chairperson reminded that in November 2013 the National Assembly set up the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee and passed the Resolution on the Parliament’s role in and the principles of the EU talks which clearly defined the relationship between the National Assembly and the Government. Since involving the civil society should be the next step, she believes that the civil society should also define how it sees its role in the process.
Committee member Jadranka Joksimovic said that the accession process is not a new idea for Serbia, reminding that in the last 10 years Serbia had gone through various stages of the process of approaching the European Union. Unfortunately, many things relating to the process had been kept from the public or misrepresented, which justifies the citizens’ Euro-scepticism and distrust, and makes the official beginning of the talks of paramount importance for Serbia and its citizens.
Committee member Gordana Comic also believes that Serbia would successfully tackle all the tasks placed before it, yet stressed that the country now faces an additional task – to help create stability and aid the European integration process of our neighbours in the region.
To that end, Swoboda highlighted the importance of the process of reconciliation between Belgrade and Pristina, reaffirming the continued support of said process in the future.
The meeting was also attended by Committee Deputy Chairman Laszlo Varga, and Committee members Vera Paunovic, Ivan Bauer and Dragomir Karic. The delegation of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament comprised the Chair of the Group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament Hannes Swoboda, Vice-Chair of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs Libor Roucek, member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs Maria Eleni Koppa and Secretary General of the Global Progressive Forum Javier Moreno Sanchez.