The 2nd European Parliament facilitated Inter-Party Dialogue was held on 14 and 15 November in the National Assembly of Serbia. It took-stock of the achievements since October’s 1st Inter-Party Dialogue (IPD) and called for the full implementation of the commitments in the annexed “Implementation Table”, and to come forward with additional initiatives to improve the conditions for holding parliamentary elections in-line with the recommendations in the reports of the European Commission and OSCE/ODHIR.
The political groups, taking part in the IPD, recognised the progress made regarding the training of officials on the Single Electoral Roll and on the new internet site created to inform citizens about the electoral roll. The Dialogue noted the organisation of the Open meeting on the role and conduct of the REM at the National Assembly and called for the urgent follow-up with concrete actions to address concerns about the overall media environment. The importance of a complete membership in the REM, including the “3+1” formula, and guaranteeing fair access and coverage by the public broadcasters was considered a priority. The Dialogue also called on all state institutions to fulfil the commitments under their competences and apply the highest standards of transparency in their work. All the announced progress and shortfalls were recorded in an updated “Implementation Table” which is available for the public to consult and is attached to the Conclusions of the Dialogue.
After the dialogue Ms Maja Gojković, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia stated: “The Dialogue in the National Assembly underlines the importance of the Parliament as the venue for discussing important reforms necessary for improving the conditions for holding parliamentary elections. I appreciate the support of the European Parliament with the facilitation of the Inter-Party Dialogue on the electoral conditions, as well as the long-term commitment to work with the National Assembly and on Serbia’s EU accession agenda.”
Mr Vladimír Bilčík, European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Serbia stated: “There is limited progress since the first round of the Dialogue, the government and the opposition need to move further – beyond their initial positions. We heard real frustrations related to the lack of trust and that something significant would be needed to build trust across the political spectrum and show to the citizens that real efforts are being made to improve conditions ahead of the elections. In our productive meeting with President Vucic, it was agreed that “3+1” new representatives would be appointed in the REM, to adopt a new Regulation based on best European practice for the Public Broadcasters to ensure fair access and coverage during the electoral campaign, and to establish the Supervisory Board in the National Assembly to oversee the implementation of all election related commitments. These steps and the commitments in the IPD Conclusions should all be achieved before our next Dialogue.”
Ms Tanja Fajon, Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee stated: “We got some new proposals from all stakeholders, however the clock is ticking and we call on the governing coalition not to waste any more time discussing and start implementing. For this to be a success, we call on the opposition to come back to the parliament and engage in dialogue to hold the government to account on its commitments.”