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Exchange of experiences from the negotiating process with EU between the Committees on European Integration in the parliaments of Montenegro and Serbia

Caption: Members of the EU committees from the Parliament of Montenegro, and National Assembly of Republic of Serbia on a meeting in Budva, Montenegro.

The Committee for European Integration of the parliament of Montenegro and the Committee for European Integration of the parliament of Serbia today held a bilateral meeting about the dynamics of the negotiating process and the use of IPA Funds for implementation of the reforms on the path towards the European Union.

In the first part of this meeting, the chairpersons of the two committees presented the experiences of the parliaments of Montenegro and Serbia in the process of review of the negotiating positions, as well as the different practices for reviewing the harmonization of the laws with the EU Acquis. The discussion involved issues such as the need to strengthen the oversight role of the committees, having in consideration that the reforms which are obligatory for the candidate- countries in the negotiating process influence all aspects of citizens’ lives. The participants agreed about the need to further strengthen the cooperation between the two committees, through holding meetings and conferences, and also with concrete projects

This meeting was an opportunity for meeting with Edin Koljenovic, the program director of NGO Civil Alliance, who spoke about the role of the civil sector in the negotiating process. The participants agreed on the importance of deepening mutual cooperation, however, also on the need for clear definition of the roles of the parliaments and NGOs in the negotiating process.

The second part of the meeting was dedicated to discussing the activities of the committees for European Integration regarding the use of IPA Funds. Emil Atanasovski, the director of the WFD Western Balkans programme, presented the news about the new financial opportunities, i.e. IPA II, and the Macedonian experiences in using the funds through decentralized management. He presented that the crucial difference between the previous and the current program is the flexibility offered by IPA II, offering the opportunity of providing additional funds to the countries which adequately use the assistance of the pre-accession funds.

In the frame of the program, the delegation met with the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, who closely presented the negotiating structure, as well as the role of the Ministry and the Main negotiator, who coordinates the overall process.

This activity was supported through the project "Strengthening the oversight role and  transparency in the work of the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia", implemented by the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia and UNDP, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, as well as with the programme for Western Balkan of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and the support of the Network of Parliamentary Committees for Finance, Economy and European Integration of the Parliaments of Western Balkan countries.