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November 15-16th 2017
On November 15-16, 2017 NPC, WFD and the World Bank organized a regional parliamentary conference on "Strengthening Legislative Scrutiny in Western Balkans Parliaments" in Skopje, Macedonia. Delegations from eight parliaments, including MPs, parliamentary committee clerks, PBO researchers, and Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) looked to identify prevailing financial oversight practices, common challenges and solutions to strenghten legislative scrutiny. The MPs looked to build consensus on what should be included in the regional NPC performance framework. As a result of the two-day conference, the regional NPC performance framework was finalized and it will be sent to NPC participating parliaments for further action.
November 15th 2017
Prior to the start of the NPC regional conference in Skopje the board met to review ongoing work. Namely, the board confirmed the participation of new board members from Albania, and agreed to organize the next board meeting in late February or early March 2018 when the Board members from the Kosovo parliament will also join the NPC board.
19 July 2017
After the two year term of the previous board ended, the new NP board with MPs nominated from network participants met in Skopje in the Macedonian parliament to discuss activities planned for the next two years. It was agreed that Mr. Artan Grubi will chair with the work of the board in the next period and the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia will be the host parliament for the Network and upcoming conferences.
19-21 December 2016
Supported by WFD and the World Bank a three-day workshop for parliamentary clerks took place in Belgrade, 19-21 December 2016. Seven clerks from the budget and finance committees representing parliaments from the Western Balkans and two researchers from the Parliamentary Budget Office of Serbia took part in this event where together with World Bank representatives they:
November 20th 2016
The Network of Parliamentary Committees (NPC) agreed to new learning partnership with WFD and the World Bank. Under this two-year knowledge partnership, the NPC will be supported by WFD and the World Bank in efforts to strengthen oversight practices in the Western Balkan parliaments.
September 9-10 2016
NPC in cooperation with WFD, the World Bank and the PEFA Secretariat on 9-10 September organised a regional parliamentary conference in Belgrade. A total of 40 participants: 21 MPs, 8 parliamentary staff, 4 government representatives and 7 WFD, World Bank, PBO participants attended the event. During the event the MPs were provided with a more detailed insight into the revised PEFA methodology and the different PEFA indicators relevant for Western Balkan parliaments.
September 8th 2016
The NPC board met in Belgrade on September 8th to review current activities. During the board meeting NPC members had an opportunity to meet with World Bank representatives and discussed a new knowledge partnershipto be initiated with the aim of advancing financial oversight practices in Western Balkan parliaments.
The members of the board of the Network of Parliamentary Committees for Economy, Finance and European Integration of Western Balkans (NPC) met on March 18th 2016 in the National Assembly of Republic of Serbia for the last time within the 2015/2016 programme year. During the meeting they conducted a comprehensive overview of all the activities and achievements during the year and reviewed and adopted the activity plan for the next year.
Over 50 MPs, ministers, government representatives and experts gathered at the olympic mountain of Jahorina in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to discuss prospects of strengthening regional cooperation between the Western Balkans' countries and institutions.
During the two days of the conference the participants discussed, debated and exchanged views and opinions relating to the Western Balkans' progress on the road towards the EU and the opportunities that EU funds provide to the Western Balkans.
The opportunities for cross-border cooperation between Bosna and Herzegovina and Serbia in using the funds from the European Union were the reason whyover 20 MPs, mayors, municipal councilors and government representatives from both countries meeting on March 4th 2016 in Bijeljina, Bosina and Herzegovina.
An overview of past and upcoming activities, discussion about political developments in the Western Balkans and planning for the Network's future work were just a few of the topics discussed by NPC board members during their November 25th 2015 meeting. Westminster Foundation for Democracy's (WFD) Regional Representative for the Western Balkans, Mr. Emil Atanasovski, briefed the members of the board about the new WFD regional office based in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, and the establishment of the Budget Office in the same parliament.
WFD is launching a new partnership in Macedonia – connecting civil society with parliament to improve human rights in the country.
We'll link up with the School of Journalism and Public Relations in the 12 months to December 2017 to facilitate a dialogue on human rights policy. The project will build on the experience of our work in Georgia, as well as our previous cooperation with the Parliament of Macedonia, to bring together civil society organisations with decision-makers in Skopje.
The NPC board meeting took place on September 18th 2015 in the National Assembly of Republic of Serbia and was chaired by Branislav Borenovic. During the course of this regular board meeting the members made an overview of the activities that took place within the NPC in the previous three months, and planed and set the dates for the activities that should take place in the forthcoming three months.
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.
Serbian MPs' ability to scrutinise public spending will be boosted from today by the launch of a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).
The new body is the result of a longstanding collaboration between the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia (NARS) and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) on parliamentary strengthening work across the Western Balkans region.
After 15 months of boycott, and one day earlier than the officially announced return, the MPs from the biggest opposition party in Republic of Macedonia returned to the parliamentary benches. The reason for their return was the event organized by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Skopje. Key speakers included the Speaker of the Assembly, The British Ambassador to Macedonia, the director of the WFD Western Balkans programme and the key parliamentary whips.
On July 9th 2015 representatives of the European Integration and Regional Cooperation Committee with the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska met with their counterparts from the European Integration Committee in the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska in Banja Luka.
“There is a need for initiating a meeting between representatives of the local self-governments located at the administrative borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina/Republic of Srpska and Montenegro, aimed at providing a more efficient cross-border cooperation and utilisation of IPA funds. In addition to the representatives of the local self-governments, MPs from the parliaments in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, representatives of governments and EU delegations from the two countries should attend the meeting.”
On May 11th 2015 in Podgorica, the Committee on European integration and the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget organized a joint consultative hearing in the Parliament of Montenegro. The topic of the consultative hearing was “Efficiency of the use of IPA funds and the performance of the Audit Authority responsible for the audit of EU funds”.
Setting the dates for the future activities of the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration of Western Balkans (NPC), moving the WFD WB office and the NPC Secretariat to Belgrade and the verification of the mandates of Board and Deputy Board members for the time period from April 1th 2015 to March 31th 2017 were just some of the key topics that were discussed at the meeting of the NPC board which took place in Banja Luka in late April.
On February 4th 2015 the European Commission published a study on parliamentary cooperation that included “Mapping and analysis of international parliamentary institutions and parliamentary networks in the Western Balkans and South East Europe” and provided an Overview of Parliamentary Capacity Building in EU candidate countries and potential candidates.
Westminster Foundation for Democracy plays a central role in strengthening overseas parliaments - including support to parliamentarians in navigating the challenging terrain of fiscal management. WFD's George Kunnath says that the age of austerity highlights the essential role that parliaments can play in exercising democratic accountability, oversight and scrutiny in the use of public funds.
Twenty five newly elected MPs from the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the National Assembly of theRepublic of Srpska were part of the induction workshop organized by the Network of Parliamentary Committees for Economy, Finance and European Integration of the Western Balkans (NPC) within the Western Balkans programme of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).
On 20-21st of February 2014, more than 50 MPs, staff members and experts gathered in Tirana, Albania to share experiences and best practices in the field of parliamentary oversight over budgetary and financial decisions.
Members of the board of the Network of Parliamentary Committees for Economy, Finance and European Integration of Western Balkans (NPC) met for the last time within the three year programme , which was supported by the WFD Western Balkans office.
On December 23rd 2014, the European Integration Committee in the National Assembly of Republic of Serbia in cooperation and with the support of the Network of Parliamentary Committees for Economy, Finance and European Integration of Western Balkans (NPC) organized a public hearing on the “Management of IPA-2 Funds”.
Meeting between the members of the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget of the Parliament of Montenegro and the members of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy of the National Assembly of Serbia took place on December 12th 2014 in the Parliament of Montenegro.
Six members of the NPC Board, together with representatives from WFD, met on December 5th 2014 in Tirana.
On December 6th 2014, MPs from the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget of the Parliament of Montenegro and the Economy and Finance Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Albania held a meeting in Tirana, Albania.
On 5th and 6th December 2014, a group of parliamentary staff members from the Western Balkans parliaments attended a 2-day seminar on preparing for effective parliamentary oversight of energy markets policies.
On Monday, October 06th 2014, the chairpersons of the Committees on European integration from the National Assembly of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Senic, and the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, Mr. Branislav Borenovic, signed a protocol on cooperation between the two committees. The protocol covers exchange of experiences on the EU path, sets the basis for preparation of joint application for IPA funds as well as promotes enhanced parliamentary oversight in the process of European integration
On 17th and 18th of November, the Committee on European Affairs of the Assembly of Macedonia held a public hearing on “IPA 2 (2014-2020): Perspectives and possibilities for utilization”. With over 20 speakers coming from the government, the Assembly, civil society, as well as the parliaments from the region, the discussion covered the basics of the upcoming funding scheme.
During a visit to Westminster, the Speaker of Serbia’s National Assembly said that the Foundation would help to found a budget office in Belgrade. Speaker Maja Gojkovic (pictured) said the move would help strengthen the democratic processes by enabling Serbian MPs to exercise greater scrutiny in the use of public money. Located in the Parliament, the budget office is intended to increase the Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee’s ability to improve accountability and cost effectiveness of government expenditure.
On October 17th 2014, the chairpersons and deputy-chairpersons of the Committees on European Integration from six parliaments from the Western Balkans were part of a multilateral meeting that took place on Jahorina, B&H. The meeting is a part of the activities of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European integration of the Western Balkans (NPC).
Nearly 75 MPs and parliamentary staff from the Western Balkan parliaments along with representatives from the ministries for economy and energy, energy production and energy transmission companies, regulatory bodies and energy experts convened at a regional conference in Budva, Montenegro on September 6th and 7th. The goal of the conference was to discuss the “Parliamentary oversight of Energy policies and Energy Investments”
As part of a series of workshops on IPA oversight, on 21st and 22nd of July, 26 MPs and parliamentary staff from Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in a training that took place in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants of the training included representatives from the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the National Assembly of Republika Srpska and had a chance to hear from Mrs. Malinka Ristevska – Jordanova, an expert on IPA funding.
On July 15th and 16th, 30 members of the parliamentary staff of the Western Balkans’ Parliaments attended a workshop titled “The role of the Parliament in conducting financial and budgetary oversight”. Together with Mr Rade Obradovic, Former MP and Deputy Speaker in the Assembly of Serbia, and Mr Marjan Nikolov, from the Center for Economic Analysis in Macedonia, the participants followed presentations and conducted simulations of case studies.
On June 15th in Ulcinj, Montenegrin two delegations from the committees on budget and finance in the Parliament of Montenegro and the Parliament of Albania, met for a bilateral meeting organized by the NPC to discuss joined infrastructure and transport issues. Chosen for it strategic transport and infrastructure location, the city of Ulcinj stands as a symbol for the practical needs to further develop existing transport connections on the ground, in the air and the sea between the two neighbouring countries.
On June 16th 2014, meeting of the Board of the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration took place in Podgorica, Montenegro. Board members reviewed past and agreed on the activities that the network should organize in the period ahead.
The Head of the Western Balkans program, Mr. Emil Atanasovski, presented the annual program and financial report for the work of the network in the period between April 01st 2013 and March 31st 2014, providing to the board members a detailed information about all of the network activities in this time period.
June 25th-26th 2014, Edinburgh, Scotland
Six representatives and members of the NPC Budgetary and Financial oversight Working Group took part in a study visit to the Scottish parliament on June 25th-26th 2014 in Edinburgh. The NPC delegation consisted of MPs from the Parliaments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro.
On July 23rd 2014 , 42 newly elected MPs in the National Assembly of Serbia attended a one-day induction seminar in Belgrade on budget and budgetary procedures. During the one day induction the newly elected MPs had the opportunity to hear presentations from current and former MPs and representatives of other important institutions that work on budget creation and budgetary oversight.
“The problems are not of technical or expert nature. The problems are political. We are talking about major funds and major opportunities. What happened lately with the floods in Bosnia shows that we urgently need to resolve relief issues and my question is whether the impact of the flooding would have been less severe if we had been able to efficiently and more effectively use the available IPA funds”. - Mr. Halid Genjac, Chairperson of the Joint Committee on European Integration of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH.
“Energy investments as a precondition for regional development in the Western Balkans” was the topic that brought together 18 MPs from the National Assembly of Republic of Serbia, National Assembly of Republic of Srpska and the Parliament of Montenegro, at a trilateral meeting that took place in Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 31st 2014. The meeting was organized by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration in the Western Balkans (NPC). Taking place in Trebinje, a town strategically important for energy production, the meeting was an excellent opportunity to exchange views and possibilities for further cooperation and coordination of energy strategies between parliamentarians from the region.
Over 40 parliamentary staff members from the parliaments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Albania and Macedonia attended the regional training on Parliamentary Oversight of Competitiveness, FDI and State Aid, which took place in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 21-22nd 2014.
On March 19th 2014 in Brussels, members of the NPC European Integration and Oversight of IPA Funds working group attended a workshop and met with the Vice-President of the European Parliament, MEP, and Member of the Committee on Budgets, Mr. Laszlo Surjan.At the workshop, five MPs from Western Balkan parliaments, Mr. Vladimir Marinkovic (Serbia), Mr. Branislav Borenovic (Republic of Srpska), Mr. Jasenko Selimovic (Parliament of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mr. Halid Genjac (Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Mr. Hajrula Misini (Assembly of Macedonia), held a discussion with Mr. Surjan about the Budget of the EU and how the European Parliament controls the spending of the structural funds, putting special emphasis on the most important fund for the Western Balkan countries, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).
A group of 18 MPs and parliamentary staff from the Assembly of Republika Srpska, the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, attended a regional training on Parliamentary Oversight of IPA Funds that took place in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 18th and 19th of March, 2014.
Following the successful 6-month chairmanship of the NPC board by MP Vladimir Marinkovic from the National Assembly of Serbia on March 4th, the MP Aleksandar Damjanovic from Montenegro took over as chair of the NPC board for following 6 months and will coordinate the work of the Network until October 2014. Taking over as chair from Mr.Marinkovic, Mr.Damjanovic stated:
“I consider these bilateral and trilateral meetings in the Network as very important, as this may be the first time that we are having this sort of official twinning of parliamentary committees and with that parliaments are defining some common policies. We have a lot in common, so let’s turn this to our advantage, not only within the Network, but also in the region.
Nearly 100 MPs and parliamentary staff fromeight Western Balkan parliaments and the Scottish parliament along with representatives from the business sector, agencies for promotion of investments, chambers of commerce and employers’ associations convened at a regional conference in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia on March 3rd and 4th. The goal of the conference was to discuss the “Role of the Parliaments in promoting investments and competition in the Western Balkans
On January 24th and March 02nd, 2014, two meetings of the Board of the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration took place in Belgrade, Serbia. Board members reviewed past and agreed on future activities of the network.
Eight board and deputy board members from the Network of parliamentary committees for Economy, Finance and European integration of Western Balkans (NPC) took part in a study visit to the Scottish parliament on February 19 and 20th 2014 in Edinburgh. The NPC delegation consisted from MPs from the parliaments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro.
During the visit the MPs had the opportunity to meet with MSPs from several committees and different bodies in the Scottish parliament, including members fromthe Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB); Finance Committee; Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee; European and External relation Committee and the Public Audit Committee.
“How can investments in energy provide support to the regional development of the Western Balkan”? This was the main question that the MPs from the National Assembly of Republic of Srpska and the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia discussed during the bilateral meeting that took place on the 23rd of December 2013 in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On November 29th and 30th 2013 in Skopje, Macedonia, 36 parliamentary staff from 7 parliaments from the Western Balkan parliaments took part in the regional training workshop titled: “Parliamentary oversight of IPA funds”.
On 15th of November 2013 in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia, delegation from the Assembly of Republic of Macedonia headed by the Chairperson of the Committee for European issues, Mr. Hajrula Misini, accompanied by Mr. Malisa Stankovic from the committee on economy and Mr. Gordan Georgiev from the committee on European issues
On 28 October, the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending held a sitting with the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget of the Parliament of Montenegro.
MPs from the Western Balkans recently convened at a regional conference in Macedonia, united in their common goal of European Union (EU) membership. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss parliamentary oversight of the use of EU pre-accession funds.
More than 30 members of parliament, committee staff and regional researchers from across the Western Balkans came together a conference in June to discuss findings from a draft study on competition policy in the region.
The board of the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European integration of Western Balkans held a meeting in Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia. During this meeting the board members discussed about the model of organizational charter and the governance structure for the functioning of the NPC, preparation of rules of procedure that will be used by the NPC and the NPC board, as well as the establishment of inter parliamentary working groups that would focus and work in different areas of importance for the region.
Promotion of the regional study: Economic and European Perspectives of Western Balkan Countries; written bySlavica Penev, was held on 13th of March in the Albanian parliament.
Regional Network of Parliamentary Committees for Economy and Finance of the Western Balkan countries, was established at the Regional Parliamentary Conference in Belgrade (March 2009) with the aim of advancing the cooperation among the parliaments from this region.