On 12 May 2021, an online meeting was held between the leadership of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, led by President Talat XHAFERI, and the lead Members of the European Parliament Ilhan KYUCHYUK (RENEW, BG), Andreas SCHIEDER (S&D, AT) and Marion WALSMANN (EPP, DE).
Both the European Parliament and the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia remain committed partners in this process and all interlocutors underlined the importance of the Jean Monnet Dialogue in building confidence, strengthening democratic culture and enhancing parliamentary capacities. A fully-fledged round of Jean Monnet Dialogue would be organised as soon as the sanitary conditions allow physical meetings.
The re-establishment of the Sobranie's Working Group on Amending the Parliamentary Rules of Procedures is a positive step towards reaching consensus among the different political parties in the Parliament. It is essential that all parties set the political differences aside in order to consolidate the work on the Rules of Procedures and to contribute to further strengthening of the institution and the reform process in general. Sobranie confirmed its commitment to the implementation of the Conclusions of the last Jean Monnet Dialogue meeting, held in February 2020.
During the meeting, the leadership of the Sobranie, represented by President Talat XHAFERI, Vice-presidents Goran MISOVSKI and Fadil ZENDELI, as well as leaders of the parliamentary groups of SDSM, VMRO-DPMNE, DUI, BESA and Alliance of Albanians and Alternativa, engaged in a constructive exchange of views on the reform process. The Chair of the Sobranie's Committee on Mandatory Immunity Issues, Mr Panco MINOV, as well as the Secretary General of the Assembly, Ms Cvetanka IVANOVA, also contributed to this positive exchange.
Finally, the lead MEPs expressed their full support to Sobranie's leadership in their efforts to develop a culture of parliamentary dialogue and consensus building and pursue institutional reforms, needed for the EU integration process of the country.
12 May 2021
"We commend the constructiveness and the engagement of the parliamentary group leaders and the leaders and representatives of the opposition parties and movements during the consultations, which aim to identify the priority areas for dialogue and reaching consensus. The objective is to improve the environment and the conditions for a fair political competition in the run-up to the next elections in Serbia. The consultations have given us important insights into the current political situation of the country and ideas regarding the areas on which we will focus our future work," said EP facilitators in a joint statement.
They also underline that "the Inter-Party Dialogue process is beneficial for Serbia, for its citizens but also for the European integration of the country, since strong, pluralistic Parliament is a crucial pillar for Serbia's democracy but also its future economic development".
"Finally, the European Union, and in particular the European Parliament and its Members, are to be seen as partners working towards the same goal, getting Serbia into the European Union."
Vladimir BILČÍK (EPP, SK), Tanja FAJON (S&D, SL), former MEPs Knut FLECKENSTEIN and Eduard KUKAN, facilitators of the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
7 May 2021
We take note that the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica DAČIĆ, is organising separate consultations with political parties that do not want to participate in meetings which include the interaction with European institutions and, in particular, with the European Parliament. He has officially informed us of the planned consultations in advance. It is currently open how the results of these consultations will relate to the actual Inter-Party Dialogue.
The Inter-Party Dialogue in Serbia is a co-facilitated process of the Serbian National Assembly with the European Parliament. From the start of the second phase of this process it was clear that certain political parties in Serbia who are opposed to the country's European path, do not want to participate in talks with European institutions and, in particular, with the European Parliament.
We naturally regret this attitude but underline that the Inter-Party Dialogue is a voluntary process and based on the commitment, willingness and ability of the participants to achieve consensus in order to improve the political climate ahead of the next elections.
Any constructive and realistic suggestions, that aim to improve the democratic culture among political parties and that have as an objective the amelioration of the current situation in view of Serbia's European destination, are welcome. In this respect we look forward to the information we will receive from the Speaker of the National Assembly at our next joint meeting envisaged for 7th May.
30 April 2021
They welcome the agreement reached between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the majority of the opposition parties. By signing the new proposal for 'A Way ahead for Georgia' put forward by European Council President Charles Michel, a way out of the political crisis could be envisaged, MEPs said.
Read the full statement here.
22 April 2021
The full Statement is available here
1 April 2021
"For the next two months, we have established a robust planning, which consists of meetings with the parliamentary group leaders, the opposition leaders, governmental representatives and other relevant stakeholders in Serbia. The objective is to consult and exchange on the priorities for the agenda of the upcoming round of the Inter-Party Dialogue as well as the modalities of engagement.
The consultation phase comes as a natural follow-up to the launch of the second phase of the Inter-Party dialogue with the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica DAČIĆ on 1 March 2021. The facilitation team will coordinate with the Speaker the next steps necessary for a successful and meaningful dialogue.
The Inter-Party Dialogue process is to be seen as a platform for constructive dialogue between political opponents because cooperation and mutual respect in matters of national interest are key for democracy."
On 25 March 2021, the European Parliament has adopted the Resolution on the 2019-2020 Commission reports on Serbia, supported by overwhelming majority of the Members of the European Parliament. With the adopted Resolution, the European Parliament welcomes the launch of the second phase under European Parliament's facilitation and gives strong mandate to the facilitation team to continue working together with the Narodna Skupština on building consensus and trust across the political spectrum.
Following a meeting with Christian Danielsson, personal envoy of European Council President Charles Michel for the EU-mediated political dialogue in Georgia on 28 March 2021, a group of leading MEPs issued the following joint statement:
"We urge all political forces to put aside their partisan interests for the sake of Georgia's future, to work constructively towards resolving the crisis in a spirit of compromise and conciliation and to refrain from further stirring up an already heated political climate. The stability of the country's parliamentary democracy and its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations are worth every effort.
We strongly support the EU's ongoing mediation efforts conducted by Christian Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel's personal envoy. We call on political leaders to grasp this opportunity for an equitable agreement, which is still possible and to put Georgia's citizens and their needs at the centre of their debate. We trust that Georgia's political class will live up to its responsibility and find a solution to the current crisis.
On a cross-party basis, the European Parliament has always supported Georgia's chosen path towards a deeper relationship with the EU. We have provided consistently strong political backing for the country to continue on this path. However, substantial progress will only be possible when the antagonism and polarisation in Georgian politics are replaced by a sense of constructive cooperation and when the country's democratic institutions can properly fulfil their roles. We stand ready to assist Georgia in this difficult situation. Once the parties will have reached an agreement we are prepared to implement, in close cooperation with the Georgian Parliament, the full spectrum of the European Parliament's democracy support measures."
The increasing frictions between political parties in Georgia following the November 2020 parliamentary elections and the arrest of the opposition leader in mid-February have sparked a major political crisis in Georgia. The EU is actively engaged to help overcoming the tensions among Georgia's political parties. Christian Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel's personal envoy, is currently in Tbilisi to mediate a compromise among the parties. The European Parliament strongly supports his efforts.
The statement has been signed by:
David McALLISTER (EPP, DE), Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Co-Chair of Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group
Marina KALJURAND (S&D, ET), Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus
Andrius KUBILIUS (EPP, LT), Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly
Viola VON CRAMON-TAUBADEL (GREENS, DE), lead member of Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group for Georgia
Sven MIKSER (S&D, ET), European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Georgia
Michael GAHLER (EPP, DE), European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine
Petras AUSTREVICIUS (RENEW, LT), European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Belarus
President Sassoli insisted that it was a "strong and positive signal of the unique and long-lasting partnership between our institutions and of our unwavering support to the people of Ukraine".
MEP Micheal Gahler, Lead Member for the European Parliament democracy support activities, who also attended the ceremony, said: "I am very happy that the unique and long lasting partnership of the European Parliament with the Verkhovna Rada will continued with the support of President Sassoli and Chairman Razumkov. We see the Rada as the central institution to keep the modernisation agenda on track. From the diverse parliamentary traditions of our member states we contribute with European best practice, bearing in mind the specificities of the Ukrainian political system. I appreciate the dedication and expertise of our staff working with their Rada counterparts within this initiative.".
Former President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, who has been actively involved in this cooperation through the Jean Monnet Dialogue for Peace and Democracy, stated: "I welcome the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. It is the foundation upon which one of the EP's richest and deepest democracy support initiatives rests. It will sustain this deep and unparalleled institutional relationship for the years to come. This MOU offers renewed encouragement and support to Ukraine and its elected representatives in their determination to underwrite their sovereignty by promoting a culture of parliamentarianism in an independent, vibrant and modern national parliament committed to reform.".
23 March 2021
Today, the European Parliament has formally launched the second phase of the Inter-Party Dialogue process with the National Assembly of Serbia, following the first phase that took place in late 2019.
We held a constructive meeting with the Speaker Ivica Dačić, co-facilitator of the process, where we agreed on the subsequent steps that will support consensus and trust building across the political spectrum in Serbia.
We firmly believe that the European Parliament facilitated Inter-Party Dialogue process is in Serbia's best interest and that it is an important element in the country's efforts to further strengthen democracy and enhance citizens' confidence in the institutions and in the electoral process.
In this process, the role of the European Parliament is not to bring ready-made solutions but rather to facilitate a dialogue where political parties could come to an agreement over pertinent issues and topics of their mutual concern and interest.
The four members of the European Parliament's Facilitation Team are Members of the European Parliament Vladimir BILČÍK, the Committee on Foreign Affairs Standing Rapporteur for Serbia, Tanja FAJON, the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Serbia and two former Members of the European Parliament, Eduard KUKAN and Knut Fleckenstein.
During this second phase of the process, the Facilitation Team will be conducting a series of consultations with all relevant stakeholders in Serbia on the agenda of the upcoming round of Inter-Party Dialogue. The team will propose possible participants and topics of common interest identified during these consultations to the National Assembly.
1 March 2021
"The European Parliament is ready to start with the second phase of the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of Serbia which we initiated in October 2019. I had a very good call with Ivica Dačić and welcome his support of the Inter-Party Dialogue. I firmly believe that after the June 2020 elections, the National Assembly and its Speaker play a central role in creating a space for dialogue and consensus building on key issues among political parties. Trust in institutions and ensuring a level-playing field in the run up to the next national elections are crucial for the future of a pluralistic parliamentary democracy in Serbia and the country's European vocation.
Parliament's facilitation team for the Inter-Party Dialogue will be led by AFET's standing Rapporteur for Serbia, Vladimir Bilčík, and the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Serbia, Tanja Fajon. They will be supported in their tasks by former MEPs Eduard Kukan (EPP, SK) and Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, DE). The four current and former MEPs already worked together successfully during the establishment of the Inter-Party Dialogue and its first phase.
Serbia's authorities, decision makers and political actors should use the Inter-Party Dialogue as a constructive platform to build consensus on outstanding issues related to the electoral process in accordance with the recommendations of international observation missions. The interest of citizens and the prospects of Serbia's democracy must take precedence over party political struggle. The Inter-Party Dialogue is in Serbia's best self-interest, especially because of its direct link to the overarching EU membership process."
2 February 2021
REM's work was an important issue during the first phase of the Inter Party Dialogue, with as many as four measures focusing on its improvement. The recent resignation of Mr Slobodan Cvejić from the Council of the REM is worrying. Judging from the reactions, apart of the public still does not have trust in the impartiality of REM's work, which was and has remained one of the commitments of the Inter-Party Dialogue.
We urge REM, its Council and the President, to do everything in their power to foster trust in the independence and professionalism of this institution and refrain from contributing to the narrative on divisions on the media landscape. Citizens of Serbia deserve free, objective, full and timely information on the most important issues in their country and it is the role of REM we would once again like to highlight in this regard.
European Parliament is ready to continue the facilitation of the domestic dialogue on the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media and the media landscape in general as soon as possible. There is still room for improvement in this area, especially given the fast-approaching national elections in 2022, as announced by the Serbian President."
11 January 2021
The lead MEPs will continue to engage with the Sobranie in the upcoming period and further meetings with the parliamentary leadership will be organised online. The European Parliament remains committed to follow closely the parliamentary work, focusing mainly on the operational and democratic capacity of the Sobranie. A 4th round Jean Monnet Dialogue would be organised as soon as the sanitary conditions allow physical meetings.
Prior to the meeting with the Speaker Xhaferi, lead Members held an online debrief on the current political situation in the country with Ambassador David Geer, Head of the EU Delegation in Skopje since September 2020.
2-3 November 2020
On the occasion of the 2020 International Day of Parliamentarism, lead-MEPs of the European Parliament's Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group expressed their strong support and solidarity with their priority partner parliaments.
The European Parliament works with its priority parliaments for democracy support by sharing its own tradition of parliamentarism based on developing a modern European parliamentary culture of dialogue, peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, consensus building and compromise.
During these extraordinary times of tackling the global pandemic, Members of the European Parliament sent messages of solidarity and stressed, now more than ever, the importance of parliamentarism in developing strong democratic cultures.
Messages from lead-MEPs on the occasion of the 2020 International Day of Parliamentarism, include: