The Role of the National Assembly and the European Integration Committee in the EU Association and Accession Process

Alignment of the national legislation with the EU aquis communautaire has been a legal obligation of the Republic of Serbia since 10 September 2008 when the National Assembly ratified the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) that had been signed on 29 April 2008 between the Republic of Serbia and the European Union.

Alignment of the national legislation with the EU aquis communautaire in a transparent and consistent manner is considered a priority in the work of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. This process requires a structured coordination of work with the Government of the Republic of Serbia responsible for drafting law proposals for which it establishes the level of conformity of the proposed legislative acts with the EU aquis communautaire.

The European Integration Committee examines all law proposals submitted by the Government aimed at alignment of national legal provisions with the EU aquis communautaire. The European Integration Committee was established by the amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly on 30 May 2003. Responsibilities of the European Integration Committee are prescribed by Article 64 of the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly. The Committee has 17 members and 17 deputy members.

The European Integration Committee:

  • Examines proposals of laws and other general acts from the aspect of their conformity with the EU acquis and the Council of Europe legislation and reports thereon to the National Assembly;
  • Examines plans, programmes, reports and information on the EU Stabilisation and Association Process, monitors the implementation of the Association Strategy, proposes measures and launches initiatives for accelerating the implementation of the Association Strategy within the competences of the National Assembly, proposes measures for the establishment of a general, national agreement on Serbia’s association with the European institutions;
  • Develops co-operation with parliamentary committees of other countries, EU Member States and countries in the region, as well as with the EU institutions, European Parliament, Council of the European Union and the European Commission.
With the introduction of new procedures related to alignment of regulations, the staff of the European Integration Department, established in April 2006, took over the responsibility of analysing proposals of laws and other general acts with regard to their compliance with the EU acquis by filling in the Statement of Compliance of the national legislation with the EU legislation and the Table of Concordance of proposals of laws and other general acts with the EU legislation, in cases when the laws are proposed by Members of Parliament.

For the purpose of opening the accession negotiations with the European Union on 21 January 2014, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia defined its role in this very important process by the Resolution on the Role of the National Assembly and Principles in the Negotiations on the Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union, adopted on 16 December 2013. The Resolution was drafted in consultation with the representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Office for the European Integration and the representatives of the civil society. At its sitting held on 4 June 2014, the European Integration Committee adopted the Decision on the procedure of considering proposals of the negotiating positions in the process of negotiations on the accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union.

With this Resolution, the National Assembly reaffirms that the strategic goal of the Republic of Serbia in the accession negotiations is to achieve an EU membership expeditiously and that the National Assembly will contribute, through its active engagement, to the successful management of negotiations and their finalisation as soon as possible. The Resolution emphasises the importance of the cooperation between the National Assembly and the Government of the Republic of Serbia that is in charge of conducting and coordinating the accession negotiation process, in order to expeditiously meet all the necessary political, economic, legal and institutional criteria for the membership of Serbia in the European Union. The Resolution underlines the need to include in the process of monitoring the accession negotiations the National Assembly’s committees in charge of the issues from the corresponding negotiating positions, while the European Integration Committee will play a major role in the coordination of all the activities.

Within the negotiations process, the European Integration Committee cooperates with civil society organisations gathered together in the National Convention on the European Union coordinated by the European Movement in Serbia. The National Convention on the European Union was established as a body for a special cooperation between the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the civil society in the accession negotiations process, in line with a good practice of strategic cooperation between the civil society and the highest legislative body in the country and elected representatives of the citizens, which was established by the National Assembly Resolution of 2004 and reaffirmed by the Resolution of 2013.

With the adoption of this Resolution, the National Assembly has strengthened its oversight role in the process of negotiations on the accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union and its readiness to ensure inclusiveness in all phases of the EU accession negotiations, through its cooperation with civil society, experts and other stakeholders. Moreover, it ensures full and timely information on the EU accession negotiations and on the results achieved.

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