EU accession means a busy summer for Serbia's Parliament

01/08/2014

Lawmakers say they are committed to meeting the EU deadlines to move the accession process along.

By Bojana Milovanovic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade -- 01/08/14

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Serbia’s parliament is considering laws on national minority councils, labour, bankruptcy proceedings, privatisation and fiscal control. [AFP]

The Serbian parliament is undertaking a working summer, without breaks or holidays, considering new laws that are required to meet deadlines to accelerate the European integration process.

"You will eat, sleep and wash your face in this House of Parliament. The adoption of laws is the priority," Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told MPs.

Parliament secretary general Jana Ljubicic told SETimes that the parliament is committed to keeping up with the government's pace.

"The government has told us there will be a lot of work and that we should expect numerous draft laws. We are ready for it, and we will organise our work in co-operation with the government, in order to be as efficient as possible," Ljubicic said.

MPs are considering proposed laws on national minority councils, labour, bankruptcy proceedings, privatisation and fiscal control, among other issues.

According to the chairman of the parliament's European Integration Committee, Aleksandar Senic, MPs have a lot of work to do.

"Over the next four years, according to the current EU accession dynamic, the Serbian parliament is to pass several hundred new laws, and amendments and supplements to existing laws," Senic told SETimes.

"The dynamic of adoption of laws will primarily depend on the efficiency of the government and its ministries. All MPs are in favour of Serbia's European integration, and there is no doubt that all the laws necessary for the association process will be passed," Senic said.

He also said that the work of the European Integration Committee will be very complex in the coming period. Three tasks stand out as the most important.

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"The first is that all laws that are passed in the forthcoming period are in tune with EU legislation. Then, we need to constantly explain to our citizens the reasons why it is good for Serbia to become a member of the European Union, what that membership means for the quality and standard of their living, not just from the moment Serbia joins the Union but also throughout the accession process. And the third main task of the committee will be the inclusion of non-governmental organisations and civil society representatives in the accession process, because without them we will not be able to adequately carry out the first two tasks," he said.

A portion of the opposition is against the rapid passing of important laws without any essential debate. European integration and efficiency should not be used as a reason to shut down discussion, opposition New Party MP Zoran Zivkovic told SETimes.

"I find that rashness inexplicable, because such important issues cannot be resolved so swiftly. Important laws, such as the one on labour, must not be adopted through urgent procedure and the MPs should be acquainted with them long before their finalisation, so that they can present amendments and influence their content," Zivkovic said.

How successful do you think Serbia will be in meeting EU deadlines for accession? Add your comments in the space below.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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