22 June 2015 3rd Conference of Danube Parliamentarians

22 June 2015 3rd Conference of Danube Parliamentarians

Monday, 22 June 2015

National Assembly Hosts 3rd Conference of Danube Parliamentarians

The National Assembly hosted the 3rd Conference of Danube Parliamentarians, attended by representatives of 12 parliaments of the countries of the region.

The Conference was opened by National Assembly Speaker Maja Gojkovic who pointed out that the exchange of experiences among the countries of the Danube region, especially those relating to transport infrastructure, flood prevention and defence and development of economic cooperation in the region, is very important for the establishment of even better relations between the countries the Danube flows through. She reminded the participants that the Danube Strategy is being realised by 14 countries, 5 of which are not EU members, stressing how important it is for the non-EU members to be included in the Strategy.

Serbia’s participation in the implementation of the Strategy leads to economic empowerment, integration of sector policies into EU development plans, improvement of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with all the countries of the Danube basin and confirms the country’s strategic commitment to full EU membership. The floods that struck Serbia and the region in May 2014 proved the need for cooperation and the drafting and realisation of joint anti-flooding projects, added the Speaker.

“As representatives of our citizens and the region, and in our legislative and supervisory role, we have to simultaneously work on supporting, legitimacy and realisation of the Danube Strategy, exchanging best practice and stimulating all the levels of governance to take active part”, stressed Gojkovic.

Danube Strategy coordinator and European Integration Office Deputy Director Ana Ilic said that, for Serbia, the Danube Strategy is, among other things, an efficient networking mechanism in the Danube region that brings the country a step closer to EU membership. The 3rd Conference of Danube Parliamentarians is important for Serbia as a way to improve cooperation and discuss two important issues – the development of transport and flood risk management. The Danube Strategy is a unique model of cooperation which is to foster ties between the Balkan region and the EU member states in many different areas, making it part of the EU, which the river Danube reminds us of.

“Serbia is dedicated to the Danube Strategy and wants to develop closer cooperation with the countries of the Danube region. We hope the newly established body – Danube Strategy Point coordinated by the German Province of Baden-Württemberg and gathering all the countries of the Danube region, will greatly facilitate cooperation” said Ilic.

The parliamentarians of the Danube region debated water management and flood prevention in the Danube basin, development of railway, road and air transportation in the Danube region and investment into scientific research as the engine of development of the Danube region, and were also briefed on the project of improving the education of Roma in Serbia.

At the end of the Conference, the participants adopted a Joint Statement.

The Chair of the Conference, National Assembly Deputy Speaker MA Igor Becic informed the participants that the 4th Conference of Danube Parliamentarians next year will be hosted by the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The 3rd Conference of Danube Parliamentarians, 20-22 June 2015, was attended the representatives of the parliaments of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine, Montenegro, German Province of Baden-Württemberg, Provincial Parliament of Vienna and representatives of the European Parliament.

On the first day of the Conference, held on a ship cruising on the Danube around Gornji Milanovac, the participants discussed cultural heritage and differences as the basis of European identity in the Danube region from the aspect of Jewish heritage and restitution, while on the second day in Smederevo they debated river transport for passengers and sustainable tourism.

Besides National Assembly Speaker Maja Gojkovic and Deputy Speaker MA Igor Becic, the National Assembly delegation also comprised MPs Katarina Rakic, Dijana Vukomanovic, Vesna Markovic, Ljiljana Nestorovic, Dubravka Filipovski, Aleksandra Tomic and Vladimir Orlic.

The 3rd Conference of Danube Parliamentarians was organised by the National Assembly, at the initiative of the Speaker, Maja Gojkovic, and with the support of the German International Cooperation Institute (GIZ).

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