27 November 2015 National Assembly delegation at the regional parliamentary conference
Monday, 30 November 2015
National Assembly Delegation at Regional Parliamentary Conference “Working to Strengthen Regional Cooperation in Western Balkans: Achievements and Prospects”
A delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia took part in the regional parliamentary conference on “Working to Strengthen Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans: Achievements and Prospects”, held on Jahorina, on 26 and 27 November 2015.
The conference was also attended by representatives of the executive power of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, as well as representatives of the non-governmental sector. The delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia comprised National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending Veroljub Arsic, member of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending MA Dejan Radenkovic, and members of the European Integration Committee Prof. Dr Ljubisa Stojmirovic and Katarina Susnjar. National Assembly Deputy Speaker and member of the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration of Western Balkans Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic also participated in the conference.
In the first panel with the topic “EU 2015 progress reports and IPA II funds: where are we and what are our options?” the speakers outlined the problems the countries in the region encounter on their path to European integration. The most important issues they discussed were the fact that there is not going to be any EU enlargement in the next four or five years, problems with the migrants and refugees, terrorism and corruption. They stressed that the national parliaments play a crucial role in the reforms, and concerning the IPA funds, the parliaments participate in the planning of the funds, supervise how they are spent and can draw certain funds from the IPA for their own development.
In the second panel with the topic “Toward an open budget process and stronger financial oversight”, Veroljub Arsic informed the participants of the conference about the establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia which is to first provide financial analysis, information and support to the members of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending, and starting from 2016 to all the other committees of the National Assembly as well. He also announced the launching of the Public Finance Supervision Portal which is to enable the transparency of public spending, stressing that Serbia is the first country in the region to have such a high degree of supervision over its finances.
The other speakers mentioned the good cooperation between the finance committees and the state audit institution and the importance of the budget calendar, transparency of the budget and participation of the public sector in all the stages of budget drafting.
In the third panel entitled “How can parliaments cooperate with the executive in the implementation of the Vienna conclusions and Berlin agenda?” representatives of the executive Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Jadranka Joksimovic, Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, addressed the conference.
Jadranka Joksimovic believes that the Berlin Process has been quite fruitful and reflects the strong political will of the EU member states to expand toward the Western Balkans. She also underlined the importance of the Joint Declaration for the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans, signed at the initiative of the Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
In the course of the discussion, Joksimovic pointed out the importance of the National Investment Committee which reviews issues important for the promotion of the implementation and realisation of strategically relevant infrastructural projects, while Igor Crnadak stressed that the Berlin Process is an excellent framework for the expansion regional cooperation.
In the fourth panel “NPC: from 2012 to date, what we have done what we can still do in the coming period”, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Vladimir Marinkovic outlined the noticeable progress achieved by the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration of Western Balkans (NPC).
On the occasion, Marinkovic said that the NPC comprises people dedicated to regional cooperation, economic development, energy and attracting foreign investment, stressing that regional cooperation had contributed to the dynamics of the European integration process. He also said the NPC comprises about 400 parliamentarians from the region whose gaol is to promote regional progress and the exchange of best practices.
The conference resulted in a number of conclusions and recommendations.
13.00 - press conference of MPs Sasa Radulovic, Branka Stamenkovic and Vojin Biljic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)
13.25 - press conference of MP Djordje Vukadinovic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)