In his address at the Belgrade Economic Forum, held via the Internet, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dacic stated that the principles of the National Assembly are in no danger of being violated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are waiting for the Government to propose legislation. As soon as these acts arrive in the National Assembly, they will be put on the agenda, depending on whether they are submitted under regular or urgent procedure", said Dacic.
He said that, in its progress report on Serbia, the European Parliament suggested that the National Assembly should employ the urgent procedure as little as possible and pass laws and other acts under regular procedure.
Dacic stated that the new Assembly legislature does not intend to pass laws under urgent procedure, as the regular 15-day deadline is used for public hearings and debates in the parliamentary committees.
"However, should the need arise, which is why we have the urgent procedure, if it is a matter of state interest, be it in the interest of national security or public health, laws and other acts can be put on the agenda by urgent procedure, where the act in question needs to arrive 24 hours before the Parliament session", said Dacic.
He said that the National Assembly passed the budget rebalance and amendments to the Law on Protection of the Population from Communicable Diseases in that way.
The National Assembly Speaker said that though there were MPs who were infected with the coronavirus, none of them were seriously ill and reminded the attending that there are strict measures everyone must adhere to and that all the MPs are separated by protective glass.
"The Assembly, as the supreme legislative body, has to function in these conditions as well," said Dacic.
"The existing information system in the Assembly is very outdated. Of course, no one had thought about it before. Even the Rules of Procedure do not stipulate that the Assembly has sessions online, but that is a small part of the problem. It is necessary to create the appropriate technical conditions", said the National Assembly Speaker.
Dacic stated that at today's session one MP complained of a violation of the National Assembly Rules of Procedure because she noticed that several MPs did not wear a protective mask.
"This was not a violation of the Rules of Procedure, but certain rules that should apply to all citizens were violated," said Dacic.
Ivica Dacic said that the announced restriction of National Assembly mandate is not a burden for the Parliament and that the body has its own agenda.
"Regardless of the fact that we are the body that elects the Government of Serbia and controls and supervises its work, you know that most acts passed by the Assembly are submitted by the Government of the Republic of Serbia," said Dacic, adding that a dynamic agenda is expected.
Dacic stated that in the course of this week the Assembly should discuss a set of tax laws, as well as elect the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, while next week it is to discuss the work of several independent regulatory bodies elected by the National Assembly.
He added that the 2021 budget should be up for discussion in two weeks.
Dacic said he did not expect a turbulent mandate adding that his goal was for the Assembly to work efficiently and fulfill its legal role.