22 September 2016 Participants of the fifth meeting of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee
Friday, 23 September 2016
Fifth Meeting of European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee
The National Assembly House hosted the fifth meeting of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (SAPC), on 22 and 23 September.
The Chairman of the National Assembly delegation and co-chair of the fifth meeting Dr Vladimir Orlic thanked the EU institutions and member states for the support they provide to Serbia on its path to the EU and the fact that no internal dilemma can endanger the EU enlargement policy. He said he was very pleased by the opening of chapters 23 and 24, hoping that other, technically ready, negotiation chapters would soon be opened as well. Orlic reminded the attending that Serbia, though not a full EU member, is a reliable and credible partner to the EU which it proved by joining in the migrant crisis efforts, fight against organised crime and terrorism and the EU’s military and civilian missions.
“I am sure that as members of the Parliamentary Committee we will all be open to expert discussion, our side will persevere in making sure that the Serbian citizens’ voice is heard in the European Parliament, and our colleagues from the European Parliament will continue to offer their invaluable support to Serbia in the EU accession process”, said Orlic.
Eduard Kukan, Chairman of the European Parliament delegation and co-chair of the fifth meeting, said that Serbia started the negotiations in times when the EU is faced by many challenges such as the European citizens’ globalisation fatigue, migrant and refugee pressures on the European borders, terrorism, relations between Ukraine and Russia and burgeoning economic dominance of other global factors.
At the opening of the SAPC fifth meeting he expressed worry about the Serbian citizens’ lagging support for EU membership saying that the feeding of negative feeling among the people should be stopped. Kukan also added that many in the EU have doubts about the enlargement and believe that new member states would not enhance the Union.
“Serbia can contribute to our security, your tradition of multicultural life can be an example to others, your country’s beauty would contribute to the development of tourism, and your agricultural produce, organic produce in particular, can find its way onto European citizens’ tables”, said Kukan.
On the first day, 22 September, the Serbian and European parliamentarians exchanged views on the state of play in the EU accession negotiations and the relations between the European Union and Serbia, economic development, judiciary reform, protection of fundamental rights and liberties, including freedom of the media, with the Head of the EU Delegation in Serbia Michael Davenport, on the behalf of the European Commission, Slovak Ambassador Dagmar Repcekova on the behalf of the Presidency of the EU Council, and Ksenija Milenkovic, acting director of the European Integration Office, on the behalf of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.
On Friday, 23 September, the second day of the meeting, the European Parliament and National Assembly members exchanged views on the dialogue on normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, refugee crisis faced by Serbia and the EU member states, harmonisation of foreign and security policy, employment policy and reductions in the public sector.
After the conclusion of the debate, the Declaration of the fifth meeting of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee was adopted.
The European Parliament delegation unanimously endorsed the Declaration. The National Assembly delegation had one abstain vote, while the rest of Parliamentary Committee members voted in favor of the Declaration.
The next meeting of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee will be held on 15 and 16 March 2017 in Strasbourg.