23 April 2024  The participants of the Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments under the auspices of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union

23 April 2024 The participants of the Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments under the auspices of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Tuesday, 23 April 2024

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Elvira Kovacs at Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments under Spanish Presidency of EU Council

National Assembly Deputy Speaker and European Integration Committee Chairperson Elvira Kovacs took part in the Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments (EUSC) held under the auspices of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, 21-23 April 2024.

The Conference gathered the speakers and deputy speakers of the parliaments of the 24 EU member states, candidate countries, representatives of the European Parliament and speakers of parliament of other countries in the status of special guest.

The Conference was preceded by the Summit of Women Speaker, held on 21 April, during which they discussed the position of women in politics and society, protection of women’s rights, women’s leadership and the need to strengthen solidarity among women as an important prerequisite for the improvement of their position. National Assembly Deputy Speaker Kovacs pointed out that there are many women in the National Assembly, as well in other institutions in important positions, which that requires systematic changes in the society and organisations. We have done a lot, but we are not stopping", concluded Kovacs.

The Conference of Speakers of European Union Parliaments was opened by the presidents of the Spanish Congress of Deputies Francina Armengol Socias and Senate Pedro Rollan Ojeda, and the audience was addressed by H.R.H. King of Spain

In session I - The Strategic Autonomy of the European Union faced with the new challenges for liberal democracies in times of social media and artificial intelligence as regards foreign and defence policy: the illegal invasion of Russia against Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East, Kovacs thanked the hosts for the opportunity and pointed out that we are faced with challenges created by social media and artificial intelligence. With the rapid development of social media platforms and artificial intelligence, we are in an era of unprecedented connectivity and information availability. These advances offer tremendous opportunities for advancement and innovation. However, Kovacs went on to say, they also represent significant challenges for democracies, threatening their security and strategic autonomy. "We must be proactive in anticipating and responding to these challenges to ensure our strategic autonomy and protect our societies. Misinformation can easily spread in our societies to create discord and undermine the very foundations of democracy. Speaking of endangering security, spreading misinformation and endangering human rights, Kovacs pointed out that basically, when it comes to relations between Belgrade and Pristina, we are facing at least 4-5 parallel realities: the reality of the Serbian people living in Kosovo-Metohija, the reality of the Albanian people, the reality of the authorities, even the reality of international reports and resolutions. The question is, at what point do these realities merge? Without a doubt, the focus is the everyday life and safety of ordinary citizens", emphasised Kovacs. The decision on the reception of so-called Kosovo, under accelerated procedure, into the Council of Europe, would seriously violate all norms of international law.

On day two of the Conference, the attending spoke on the topic: Strengthening the European Union from an economic and social perspective: the new fiscal rules of the European Union and enhancement of the Economic and Monetary Union in the context of prospective enlargement, social rights and environmental and climate change challenges. Kovacs pointed out that through the multi-layered crisis that is shaking the whole world, Serbia proceeding stably, with constant vigilance and precautionary measures with which we manage to preserve the stability of public finances, economic growth, growth in the number of jobs and the standard of living of citizens, all of which have become key challenges for much better developed countries. "Despite numerous challenges on the global market, Serbia managed to strengthen all segments of the economy, preserve macroeconomic stability and improve the business environment. The single labour market of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia has been officially established and this will contribute to further economic progress and greater investments in our region, as well as to the improvement of the quality of life of the citizens of the signatory countries", stressed Deputy Speaker Kovacs. The growth plan for the Western Balkans will provide a unique opportunity for closer cooperation with the European Union, and especially a new incentive for accelerated integration into the EU Single Market as an area where stronger connections are possible before full membership. Kovacs pointed out that Serbia will continue with strategic planning in all areas of EU integration and prepare for its future in the European Union. Enlargement is a two-way street and the enlargement process needs to be reformed in such a way that citizens in candidate countries are able to take advantage of the initial benefits of EU membership even before formal accession, Kovacs concluded.

On the sidelines of the Conference, Deputy Speaker Kovacs had numerous bilateral meetings with the heads of parliament of Finland, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Hungary and the deputy speakers of the National Assembly of France and the Parliament of Sweden, as well as a meeting with the Chairman of the French Senate’s European Affairs Committee. On the sidelines of the Conference, Kovacs also met with the heads of parliaments of Portugal, Luxembourg, Montenegro and Spain.

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wednesday, 22 may
  • 11.00 - visit of the students of the Ivan Saric Technical School from Subotica to the National Assembly (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square)

  • 12.00 - National Assembly Deputy Speaker Elvira Kovacs opens the final debate of the 10th generation of the European Debate School (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Small Hall)

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