20 October 2021 Participants of the meeting

20 October 2021 Participants of the meeting

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Orlic and Head of PFG with Germany Meet with Bundestag Deputy Speaker

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Dr Vladimir Orlic and the Head of Parliamentary Friendship Group with Germany Vesna Markovic met today with the Deputy Speaker of the Bundestag Claudia Roth, currently in official visit to the Republic of Serbia.

Deputy Speaker Orlic pointed out that, in terms of the country’s strategic commitment which is EU accession, the National Assembly follows the policy of the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, also implemented by the Serbian Government, in full. The 2020 Progress Report on Serbia is satisfactory, said the Assembly Deputy Speaker adding that the EU has noted Serbia's progress and expressed readiness to open two new clusters. This is the result of work well-done and Serbia is prepared for new negotiating clusters, said Dr Orlic.

He added that the evaluation of our results is closely related to the development of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which is a specific circumstance of Serbia's European path. Serbia is committed to the dialogue, conducted at the highest political level as it is personally led by the President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic, which shows the importance we attach to the dialogue, stressed Dr Orlic. He pointed out Pristina needs to change its attitude as in the previous period there has been a serious escalation of violence against the Serbian community in Kosovo-Metohija, led from Pristina. Serbia is fighting for the dialogue to survive in difficult conditions, while the other side is sabotaging it and has not yet fulfilled its most important obligation under the 2013 Brussels Agreement - to establish a Community of Serb Municipalities, said Dr Vladimir Orlic.

Still, even in these circumstances, Serbia manages to maintain the level of citizens’ support for European integration, although it is extremely difficult, in the conditions of Pristina’s constant sabotage of the dialogue and the absence of realization of EU guarantees, said the National Assembly Deputy Speaker.

Speaking with the Bundestag Deputy Speaker, Vladimir Orlic also pointed out that Serbia is especially proud of its economy’s extraordinary results achieved in the last few years, which the EC also recognised in its report. He emphasized that relations with Germany are very important for Serbia, adding that the level of investments coming from Germany has increased and over 70,000 of our citizens work in German companies operating in Serbia.

He went on to say that Serbia is successfully fighting the corona virus pandemic, that everything has been done to provide vaccines, not only for our citizens, but for the citizens of the countries in the region as well, pointing out that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic gave the first contingents of vaccines to some countries in the region.

Dr Vladimir Orlic also informed the guest about the current parliamentary legislature, stating that out of six National Assembly deputy speakers, two are women and two are representatives of national minority parties. He went on to say that in the current legislature, out of 250 MPs, 98 are women, which is a result of the change in the election laws and the introduction of the obligation 40% of women representatives in the parliament. This was also recognised in the European Commission’s latest on Progress Report on Serbia, said Orlic adding that the National Assembly has significantly improved its operation.

Bundestag Deputy Speaker Claudia Roth informed her hosts about the current political situation in Germany in the wake of the parliamentary elections. She said that the formation of the parliament and the election of the presidency are expected next week, as well as that negotiations on the formation of the Government are underway. She opined that it was important that the EC report had noted Serbia's progress and expressed hope that a negotiating cluster concerning environmental protection would be opened as this would open new opportunities for bilateral cooperation between Serbia and Germany. She pointed out that the parliament is the centre of democracy which is why the parties should go to the polls, instead of boycotting them. Deputy Speaker Roth made sure to stress that during her stay in Serbia, she would visit Kragujevac, in order to personally pay homage to the shadows of the innocent victims shot there in 1941.

Vesna Markovic, Head of Parliamentary Friendship Group with Germany, underlined the importance of interparliamentary cooperation, pointing out the exceptionally good cooperation achieved between the two parliaments’ friendship groups. The PFG with Germany boasts 100 MPs, she stressed, the biggest membership so far, which is a testimony to the importance the MPs attach to cooperation with Germany, a key EU country. She thanked Germany for its commitment to EU enlargement and being aware of the importance it has for the stability of the entire Western Balkan region.

Markovic expressed hope that the Green Party’s participation in the new German government would help the realisation of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans Declaration adopted in Sofia last year, which EU funds have already been allocated for.

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