13 April 2018 Participants of the interparliamentary conference
Friday, 13 April 2018
Interparliamentary Conference: “Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development (IPARD): Lessons Learnt and Future Prospects”
The interparliamentary conference: “Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development (IPARD): Lessons Learnt and Future Prospects”, organized by the European Integration Committee with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the National Assembly, was attended by MEPs and the members of the parliaments of EU member states and potential accession candidates.
The participants were also addressed by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic who said that the efficient use of IPARD funds is a very important topic for EU candidate countries. Marinkovic stressed that EU accession is Serbia’s foreign policy priority and the National Assembly has reached a broad consensus on the issue. “The fact that we had recently for the first time since the opening of the Western Balkans’ European prospects in June 2003, been given 2025 as the year of Serbia and Montenegro’s and hopefully the whole of the Western Balkans’ potential accession is a huge encouragement”, said Marinkovic. He also added that he sees the use of EU pre-accession funds as a preparation for the future EU accession and the use of the EU Cohesion Fund. The recent activation of the IPARD programme for Serbia is especially significant as it is the most important pre-accession support programme for rural development, the National Assembly Deputy Speaker concluded.
Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic said that the status of candidate is accompanied by the right to use pre-accession funds and our country is for the first time able to use the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development this year. In the period between 2014 and 2020 Serbia has at its disposal 1.5 billion of non-refundable assistance, said Joksimovic. It is extremely important to keep the public informed about the availability of IPARD and how it can be used, said the Minister for European Integration underlining the importance of strengthening local self-governments.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Zeljko Radosevic said that the use of the IPARD fund and support of rural development is a preparation for the EU’s common agrarian policy.
Eleni Theocharous, member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that for a successful EU enlargement both the EU and the candidate states must undergo reforms, which include agriculture. IPARD is an important mechanism of rural development she said, adding that agriculture is a key component of the Western Balkan’s economic and social development.
Addressing the participants of the conference, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Steliana Nedera said that this organization and its partners would continue to support Serbia’s rural development which includes support for an efficient use of the IPARD fund.
Secretary General of the Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG) in South Eastern Europe Boban Ilic and Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Zoran Janjatovic also spoke about the importance of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development for the development of the EU candidate countries.
Ivari Padar, member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and Liam Breslin, Head of the Unit for Pre-accession Assistance at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development, spoke about the use of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development in the context of EU accession. They also spoke about good financial management in the implementation of the IPARD programme.
Czesław Siekierski, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, and Professor Natalija Bogdanov of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, spoke about the potentials and significance of development of the rural economy in pre-accession countries and the role of IPARD in said development.
Maria Gabriela Zoană, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, spoke about the future of the Common Agricultural Policy: design and objectives.
Concluding the conference, European Integration Deputy Committee Chairperson Elvira Kovacs noted that from the debate conducted it was clear that the establishment of a national IPARD structure has not yet been fully completed in all the EU candidate states and that the implementation of the IPARD programme requires the recruitment of adequately trained staff. Kovacs said that that is why it is very important to keep exchanging experiences and best practice examples with the newer EU member states. This could be greatly aided by having another conference on the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development, she concluded.
10.00 - European Integration Committee Chairperson meets with the Head of the Council of Europe Mission in Belgrade (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)
11.00 - 14th regular meeting of the National Assembly Collegium (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)