The 12th meeting of the of the European Union-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (SAPC) was held on 28 January 2021 in video conference format. The members of the NARS delegation addressed their colleagues from the European Parliament and presented their views on the various topics currently in the political focus of Serbia and the EU.
Veroljub Arsic, Chairman of the Committee on Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy, said that the majority of foreign investors in our country come from the EU and they certainly take into account which country they invest their capital in, whether that country respects the rule of law and the harmonisation of its regulations with the EU. Therefore, any comments on the topic of the rule of law in our country are surprising, when the situation in that area, according to the obvious assessment of European companies, is indisputably well regulated. He added that what he considered Tanja Fajon’s great personal failure was her inability to, despite the authority her position in the EP delegation allegedly gives her, persuade the parties of the former regime to participate in the inter-party dialogue conducted last year with the mediation of the European Parliament.
Dragan Sormaz, Head of the NARS Delegation in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, informed the members of the EP about the number of migrants in Serbia and how they are taken care of in our country. Stressing that they number about 6,000, Dragan Sormaz emphasized that all UN and EU reports clearly state that Serbia provides for these people according to the best possible standards and offers them all necessary assistance.
Djordje Milicevic, the Head of the SPS Parliamentary Group, said that the success of any inter-party dialogue depends primarily on the topics on the agenda. The opposition does not show that it is able to focus on topics that represent a common denominator for them, if such topics exist at all. Their position, seen so far from part of non-parliamentary parties, states: fulfilment of the list of 42 demands, or boycott – that is not a dialogue, but a plain and simple ultimatum.
National Assembly Deputy Speaker and deputy chair of the delegation to the SAPC Elvira Kovacs emphasised the importance of the plenary session of 28 and 29 December 2020 where the Report of the European Commission was discussed for the first time. She said that the MPs agreed that it is crucial to inform the public about the benefits of European integration and reforms, adding that during the COVID-19 crisis, the EU provided a package of measures to support Serbia in the fight against the coronavirus. She went on to emphasise the evident decrease in the use of urgent procedure, adoption of independent bodies’ annual reports, as well as the MPs’ Code of Conduct.
Culture and Information Committee Chairperson Sandra Bozic said that REM had concluded that RTS behaved analytically and objectively in the pre-election campaign, presenting all the electoral lists and their representatives without any discrimination. What is extremely important is Serbia’s establishment of a Commission to investigate the murder of journalists and the competent authorities’ working on resolving all reported cases of attacks on the media and their representatives, and making maximum efforts to find and penalise the perpetrators of violence against journalists.
Marijan Risticevic, Chairman of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Committee, pointed out that as far as the inter-party dialogue is concerned, he must note that some EU mediators are behaving like opposition leaders. He finds it unacceptable that the violent intrusion into the Serbian National Assembly is interpreted in one and that the intrusion into the American Congress in a completely different way.
SAPC chair Dr Vladimir Orlic pointed out that the evident success of all the measures implemented by the state of Serbia in the fight against the pandemic is measured by tangible results: both the fact that Serbia has the highest GDP growth in 2020 on the entire continent and the fact that our country today it is the second in Europe in terms of the relative number of vaccinated citizens.
The meeting was attended by members of the delegation of the National Assembly in the SAPC: Dr Vladimir Orlic, Veroljub Arsic, Sandra Bozic, Elvira Kovacs, Marijan Risticevic, Dragan Sormaz, Nemanja Joksimovic, Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic, Dr Aleksandra Tomic, Milos Terzic, Hajzi Milorad Stosic, Djordje Milicevic, Jasmina Karanac, Shaip Kamberi and delegation deputy member Dusica Stojkovic.