From Inter-Party Dialogue to Parliamentary Dialogue Process: EP reconfirms its long-term commitment to support the Serbian National Assembly
Democracy support Lead MEPs for the Western Balkans, Vladimír Bilčík (EPP, SK) and Matjaž Nemec (S&D, SI), have reconfirmed the EP's commitment to co-facilitate the dialogue process among political factions of the Serbian National Assembly. Building on the experience of the Inter-Party Dialogue (2019-2022) the two lead MEPs envisage continuing their engagement under the new label of "Parliamentary Dialogue Process".
This label duly reflects the changed composition of the Serbian National Assembly, following parliamentary elections of April 2022. Following their previous boycott opposition forces are now again represented in the parliament, leading to a politically more diverse composition. The European Parliament's engagement via the Parliamentary Dialogue Process is long-term. It aims to strengthen Serbian democracy and its parliamentary pillar, including with regard to the reforms in connection with the EU accession process. For 2023 two rounds of the Dialogue are envisaged which will be co-facilitated with the Serbian Parliament.
The EP's facilitation team for the Parliamentary Dialogue Process, led by Vladimir Bilčík and Matjaž Nemec, will be supported in their challenging tasks by former MEPs Knut Fleckenstein and Alojz Peterle. Mr Peterle joins the facilitation team to replace deceased former MEP Eduard Kukan. Mr Kukan who sadly passed away in February 2022, was committed to the dialogue process with the Serbian Parliament since its start in 2019 and worked tirelessly towards its success.
The Parliamentary Dialogue Process complements other democracy support activities of the European Parliament, in particular capacity-building programmes. Its core objective is the support of dialogue and consensus building while providing a platform for opposing political forces inside the Serbian parliament to build and seek consensus on relevant issues.
16 March 2023, Strasbourg
Joint press statement: MEPs and Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia following the meeting in the Parliament
They underlined the importance of exchange of experience and good practices between Serbian and European parliamentarians in the upcoming period.
"We came to Belgrade with an objective to discuss with the Parliament's leadership and representatives of parliamentary groups the need of dialogue support inside the National Assembly and how the European Parliament's engagement could contribute to the strengthening the role of the Parliament and promote the European culture of dialogue and consensus building. Participation of the parliamentary groups in that regard is welcomed. Citizens' trust in parliament is crucial for tackling the challenges of every democratic society", stated MEPs.
"The cooperation between the National Assembly and the European Parliament is an important element of the European Integration of Serbia, therefore the National Assembly is welcoming the EP's engagement in exchange of experience and good practices, by supporting the parliamentary dialogue and consensus building that could further strengthen the Parliament in its work. Over the past years, we have ensured best electoral conditions and strengthened the pluralism in the NARS, as the institution committed to developing an open and inclusive dialogue", stated Mr Orlic following the meeting with MEPs.
27 January 2023
Press statement: MEPs Vladimir Bilčík and Matjaž Nemec in Belgrade
"We came to Belgrade at a crucial moment for Serbia's European future and at a time of huge challenges for the international community. That's why we are encouraged by the constructive attitude during our meetings with the representatives of political groups in the National Assembly. We also welcomed the commitment to the country's European path expressed in the meetings. Parliament stands ready to work with the National Assembly, building a strong institution ready to tackle the challenges related to the European Integration of Serbia".
During their visit the two MEPs also met with President Aleksandar Vučić and with PM Ana Brnabić with whom they discussed the wider political context, in particular the EU enlargement process.
Since 2019, Mr Vladimir Bilčík serves as European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur for Serbia and substitute member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Mr Matjaž Nemec joined the European Parliament in June 2022 and serves as Member of the Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
30 September 2022
Agreement to launch the Jean Monnet Dialogue process with Moldova
On 11 and 12 April, MEP Tudorache met the representatives of political factions in the Moldovan Parliament, the Chairs of several parliamentary committees as well as President Sandu and Prime Minister Gavrilita. Against the backdrop of the ongoing Russian aggression in neighbouring Ukraine and the country's recent application for EU membership they discussed the current challenges for the country, parliament's ongoing work, the engagement of political parties in reform and legislative processes, and the political willingness to cooperate and advance on Moldova's ambitious reform path.
The European Parliament's Lead Member for Moldova presented the principles and the rules of engagement of the Jean Monnet Dialogue process and discussed with Moldovan leaders ways of implementing this process in the coming months. He underlined the key principle of local ownership of this process by the Moldovan parliament. All participants of the Jean Monnet Dialogue should be fully engaged and contribute constructively to the process.
Following the meetings with Moldovan authorities and civil society organisations, MEP Tudorache said: "I consider the Jean Monnet Dialogue process to be an essential tool for any Parliament wishing to harmonize its internal processes and to create in its political activity a collaborative and participatory environment that improves the level of dialogue and understanding between the political parties. Since the beginning of our discussions regarding this program, I was glad to find a genuine and practical interest in the Moldovan Parliament. The Republic of Moldova is in a unique situation. Being near a war zone, it is a country that just has applied to join the European Union, which proves to all of us an exemplary political determination. We are witnessing the opening of a process in which all parties will have the chance to learn and understand how to deal with dialogue and political negotiation under the auspices of specific rules that ensure the success of the democratic processes. I welcome the Republic of Moldova's progress and openness to European mechanisms, and I am sure that together we can build a democratic framework to ensure an objective and functional political dialogue. "
Igor Grosu, Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, said: "I think we need to start with an achievable goal, a topic that would facilitate dialogue. It must be everyone's initiative. Only in the conditions of a broad consensus can we succeed." He stressed: "More than ever before, political consensus is vital."
13 April 2022
The Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of Serbia concludes its second phase ahead of the upcoming local, parliamentary and presidential elections
The Dialogue process, initiated in 2019, provided an effective platform for exchange and consensus building among different political forces on issues crucial to the future of Serbia's democracy. Sixteen concrete measures were agreed in the course of the process, in line with international recommendations, to improve election conditions and the media space. It is regrettable that not all participants of the Dialogue felt they were in a position, for different reasons, to subscribe to these measures.
„It is crucial for all measures to be fully implemented. Any unnecessary delay in implementation endangers the effectiveness of the agreed measures ahead of the upcoming elections", stressed the European Parliament's co-facilitators. „The fact that the non-parliamentary opposition remains critical about implementation of the measures is a matter of concern."
„Concluding this round of the Inter-Party Dialogue we also want to stress the constructive, open and to-the-point exchanges we had with all interlocutors and the positive attitude towards dialogue and consensus building. However, further reform is needed to consolidate Serbia's parliamentary democracy and we stand ready to support these efforts following the elections", underlined the European Parliament's co-facilitators of the Dialogue.
„The Inter-Party Dialogue was an important experience. It has demonstrated that we are able to work across party-lines to achieve progress in the overall interest of Serbia's democracy. This has also been a very positive example of cooperation between Serbia's National Assembly and the European Parliament which bodes well for the future. The Serbian National Assembly will continue to make all efforts to adopt the necessary legal changes for the implementation of the measures jointly agreed in the Inter-Party Dialogue", stressed Ivica Dacic, Speaker for the National Assembly of Serbia.
The co-facilitators of the Inter-Party Dialogue agreed that the good cooperation and dialogue facilitation should continue following the elections with the aim to strengthen parliamentary democracy and improve political culture. They also look forward to the international observation mission that will closely look at the conduct and outcome of the upcoming elections, which is also a priority mission for the European Parliament.
28 January 2022
Waymarks on the route to Europe: pluralism and dialogue
Pluralism and dialogue are the key words for the two phases of the Inter-Party Dialogue (IPD) process, which the European Parliament initiated together with the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in 2019 and which we are now concluding with our visit to Belgrade, ahead of the planned elections in spring 2022. We knew clearly, where we wanted to go with the IPD, namely, to create a space of dialogue among different political forces and to facilitate a process of exchange of positions on matters crucial to Serbia's democracy. This was the mandate we received from the European Parliament. We managed to reach out to all relevant political forces and bring their representatives together to discuss and engage in a constructive manner. This in itself was a considerable achievement of the IPD, as all those familiar with Serbian politics know very well.
From the beginning, our role was neither to take any sides nor to present any ready-made solutions. Our role was to listen carefully, to provide opportunities for dialogue among political opponents and, if possible, to facilitate compromise on a few long-standing issues regarding the conditions for electoral competition and the situation in the media space, in line with the relevant ODIHR/OSCE reports. This, in fact, has happened. Our efforts created space for improving conditions for political competition.
16 concrete measures, in the field of electoral competition and media space, based on the previous input from all participating parties, were outlined after the September round of the IPD process. These measures might not be the panacea for Serbia's democracy, but they constitute very concrete, tangible steps forward towards a fairer representative democracy in Serbia.
Now, the responsibility for implementing the improvements regarding electoral conditions rests with the authorities and relevant public institutions but also with all political actors in Serbia who have been participating in the European Parliament's co-facilitated IPD process. When it comes to the media, the independence of the National Public Broadcaster and quality and independence of all other media providers in the country are crucial. Citizens across Serbia must be properly and duly informed. This is even more important for the media coverage during the pre-electoral and electoral period. There is also a need for continuous quality work of public institutions between electoral cycles in order to ensure application of the international and European standards for holding elections.
The upcoming local, parliamentary, and presidential elections will be an important opportunity for Serbia's democracy. The IPD has always encouraged full participation of all relevant political parties in elections. We are glad to see that all political parties intend to participate this time in the upcoming elections.This is the only way to guarantee adequate political representation and to engage as many citizens as possible in the political future of the country. We call on all political parties, authorities and stakeholders to do their utmost so that these elections are free, fair and transparent. The political competition among the participating parties must remain civil. The European Parliament will also be present on the ground as part of an international election observation mission and will take a very close look at the conduct and outcome of these elections.
Serbia has recently made an important step forward on its route towards EU membership. A further cluster in the negotiation process, consisting of four chapters was recently opened in Brussels. Further progress can be achieved through implementation of the IPD-led efforts to improve electoral conditions in Serbia. As current and former Members of the European Parliament we believe that the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia is the natural place to promote pluralism and dialogue. The European Parliament stands ready to continue the work with the National Assembly, its Speaker and its Members in an effort to strengthen what should be the heart chamber of democracy and the key to Serbia's European future.
28 January 2022
EP facilitators of the Jean Monnet Dialogue issue a statement on revoked visit to Georgia
"As co-facilitators of the Jean Monnet Dialogue we regret that the visit planned for 21-22 January in Tbilisi will not take place as Chairman Shalva Papuashvili did not find the time to engage. The visit was intended to explore the possibilities of launching a Jean Monnet Dialogue process with the Georgian Parliament, with the objective of developing an inter-party dialogue to build a better democratic parliamentary culture and trust. The Jean Monnet Dialogue process is a flexible and proven instrument of mediation, able to accommodate different positions and interests. We regret that the political conditions necessary for the start of this ambitious process are not fulfilled at this stage.
We believe that the Parliament of Georgia has a key position and responsibility to address the persisting and detrimental political polarisation in the country and to advance with an inclusive and reformist agenda. Given the major challenges the country faces and the citizens' expectations we remain committed and available to assist the Parliament of Georgia in this endeavour. In line with the well-established institutional cooperation that already exists, we invite the Parliament of Georgia to prepare the ground for a conducive start of the Jean Monnet Dialogue process in the near future."
21 January 2022
Inter-Party Dialogue: Improving conditions for political competition in Serbia
The working document contains 16 concrete and implementable measures. They reflect previous recommendations from the European Parliament, the European Commission, and OSCE/ODIHR, as well as the conclusions drawn from the wide-ranging consultations and discussions held so far in the context of the Dialogue process.
Among the various agreed improvements are: the establishment of a temporary supervisory body, in the field of media monitoring, which will include opposition representatives; the adoption of a binding rulebook for the national public broadcaster; a temporary change of the standing composition of the Republic Electoral Commission, by adding six additional members from the overall opposition in the country.
The co-facilitators of the Inter-Party Dialogue underlined that the full and timely implementation of the measures by the competent authorities is of the utmost importance and should start without delay. To this end a detailed implementation table was agreed among the co-facilitators.
These measures constitute concrete steps towards a more level playing field in Serbian politics, and could increase trust and confidence in the electoral process. Also, the agreement reached among the co-facilitators underpins Serbia's commitment on its path towards EU Membership.
18 September 2021
Jean-Monnet Dialogue process Sobranie: Preparing for the next round
The Sobranie's Speaker Talat Xhaferi and the European Parliament's co-facilitators of the Jean Monnet Dialogue, Andreas Schieder (S&D, AT), Marion Walsmann (EPP, DE) and Ilhan Kyuchuk (RENEW, BG) took stock of the achievements so far and discussed the next steps in the ongoing process. Speaker Xhaferi and the European Parliament's co-facilitators noted with satisfaction the continued strong commitment to the process. They also recognised the challenges, which are still lying ahead and called on all parties to participate constructively in the dialogue.
The talks, held also with the Sobranie's Vice-President and political party coordinators, shed a light on the implementation of the commitments made during the 3rd round of the Jean Monnet Dialogue in early 2020 and the prospects for the next round of dialogue.
Following the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, they warmly welcomed the possibility to meet in-person, underlining that tangible results in the Jean Monnet Dialogue cannot be achieved only in virtual meeting formats.
The meetings took place one day after the fire in the town of Tetovo, where many patients perished in a fire at a COVID-19 hospital. A minute of silence was held to commemorate the victims of this tragic event.
IPD Serbia: A "working document" is not the same as an agreement
"As we clearly stated before, a working document is not the same as a political agreement. This document provides possible orientations for the IPD-participants. Not more and not less. However, it is up to the IPD-participants themselves to find an agreement among each other. Our role is to help and to assist on the way towards such an agreement. We want the best for Serbia and are not here to impose any particular views or pre-cooked solutions", underlined the European Parliament's facilitators, MEPs Vladimir Bilcik and Tanja Fajon, as well as former MEPs Knut Fleckenstein and Eduard Kukan.
The European Parliament's facilitators emphasized that they are open to discuss all proposals and concrete suggestions, which can contribute to a better level playing field for political competition in Serbia ahead of the next elections. The objective is to have meaningful, constructive and result oriented discussions in Belgrade and, if possible, to reach a political agreement.
8 September 2021
Towards the next round of the Inter-Party Dialogue Serbia
The document focusses on improving conditions for political competition in view of the upcoming election campaign in Serbia. It builds on the momentum created by the July Inter-Party Dialogue and takes into account the previous consultation process as well as recommendations from the international community. It aims in particular at issues related to the equitable access to media and the integrity of the electoral process.
"With this draft working document we want to make a constructive contribution to the Dialogue with concrete suggestions and proposals. However, the key to reach an agreement lies within the hands of the IPD participants themselves. Their political will and their willingness to compromise will be decisive for the outcome", underlined the EP-facilitators. They also stressed that they will do their utmost to help paving the way towards a political agreement.
The draft working document will be made available to all IPD participants by the end of this week in order to give them sufficient time to react ahead of the next IPD round. This week the EP-facilitators will also meet with the Speaker of the Serbian National Assembly, Ivica Dacic, to discuss the further preparations of the Dialogue process.
Renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
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
Inter-Party Dialogue continues ahead of the upcoming elections in Serbia
The first round of the second phase of the European Parliament facilitated Inter-Party Dialogue was held on 9 and 10 July in Belgrade. It called for achieving tangible results to improve the level-playing field ahead of the next elections.
EP facilitators of this dialogue were former MEP Knut Fleckenstein with Vladimír Bilčík (EPP, SK), Foreign Affairs Committee Rapporteur for Serbia and Tanja Fajon (S&D, SL), Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Serbia. The National Assembly of Serbia was represented by its Speaker Ivica Dačić.
The Dialogue brought together leaders and representatives of parliamentary groups as well as opposition parties and platforms around the same table for the first time.
"We welcome the presence of a very broad spectrum of political forces and their commitment to the dialogue. We are aware that challenges related to the electoral process still persist and we will work together to address them. We confirm our commitment to support the integrity of the electoral process.
We want to stress the importance of equitable access to media, media pluralism as well as media ethics and standards, particularly in the context of pre-electoral and electoral campaigns.
We now need to seize the momentum created by this dialogue. Today more than ever it is necessary to achieve tangible progresses that can be implemented effectively ahead of the next electoral campaign.
We are ready to support the efforts from the participants in the Inter-Party Dialogue to reach agreement on the electoral conditions"
European Parliament remains committed to support Serbia and the National Assembly of Serbia in the reform processes related to the European integration of the country.
The co-facilitators presented the Conclusions of this round of the Inter-Party Dialogue and agreed to meet in the same format on 17 and 18 September 2021 in Belgrade.
10 July 2021
EP facilitators team for the Inter-Party Dialogue met President Aleksandar Vučić
The European Parliament facilitators assessed the dialogue so far as a very constructive one, and informed the President on the next steps.
The President pointed out that rational and pragmatic solutions that could improve election conditions are welcome, adding that the point of the talks is to hear suggestions from all sides, without conditioning, so as to create an environment of trust in an adequate and constructive fashion, with a serious and responsible approach of all political stakeholders.
"This is the second phase of the dialogue. We are willing to fully contribute to its success and we stand ready to be engaged as long as it takes. We don't have any deadlines, the dialogue has been taking place since 2019, but we want to achieve results in good time before the elections announced for 2022. ", MEP Vladimir Bilcik stated.
The interlocutors pointed out the importance of the dialogue being instrumental for a better understanding of the current situation. They added that there were no ready-made solutions, but that a constructive dialogue is possible that could lead to meaningful results.
9 July 2021
Let’s work together for Serbia’s European future
If anybody has had doubts about the commitment of the European Parliament towards Serbia's European future, doubt no more. When the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in early 2020, the European Parliament put on ice all its missions to countries outside the EU. Now, almost 18 months later, the very first official mission authorized by the President of the European Parliament isn't going to Washington or to Peking, but to Belgrade this Friday and Saturday!
This is a very strong political signal, underlining our institution's and our personal commitment as facilitators of the Inter Party Dialogue in Serbia. We come to Belgrade with good will and good faith. We and the European Union have invested a lot into this dialogue which is designed to assist Serbia's reform processes. We expect that all those who are invited to this dialogue will attend and engage with equally good faith and good will today and tomorrow.
The Inter-Party Dialogue provides a platform for political parties, movements and platforms to engage on equal terms, no matter how small or big they are. All will sit around the same table. However, sitting around a table is not a goal in itself. We are more ambitious than that. We want to provide a political space that can help to facilitate a consensus over certain outstanding issues in the run-up of the next elections in Serbia.
Both the 2019-20 European Commission's report on Serbia and the European Parliament resolution on Serbia have made one thing very clear: It is crucial for Serbia's European path that the governing majority and opposition, in their respective roles, talk to each other to seek an agreement on the most important political issues. The Inter-Party Dialogue is thus directly linked to Serbia's strategic choice.
Since March, we have been preparing this round of dialogue by carefully listening to all relevant political stakeholders. We conducted more than 20 "online"-meetings with representatives of the parliamentary groups, and opposition parties and the political platforms that are currently not represented in the Narodna Skupština. Different Civil Society Organizations and experts have also provided us with important inputs and insights to improve the electoral conditions.
These preparatory meetings helped us as team to define the agenda for this week's round of Dialogue. The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, under whose auspices the Inter-Party Dialogue is held, has been a constructive partner in all our efforts.
Our approach during the preparatory phase has been as inclusive as possible and we have engaged with a very large number of political forces. We do not bring ready-made solutions in Belgrade, but we help create a space for dialogue. We remind the participants, whenever needed, that everyone should stick to the norms of mutual respect in such a dialogue, be pragmatic and realistic and above all respect the legal and constitutional frameworks. Moreover, we will remind all participants that we expect full commitment and good will on their side. Political ownership and responsibility for the outcome of this dialogue lie on the shoulders of the political forces in Serbia.
We have appreciated the sincerity and frankness of our interlocutors. The Inter-Party Dialogue is not without challenges and we don't underestimate the difficulties of bringing political opponents around one table. Much remains to be done to strengthen confidence and trust between political forces but we believe that substantial improvements in the electoral process and media environment could be achieved in the next months. The goal of our efforts is clear: we are ready to assist the Serbian political forces in creating a fair level-playing field in the run-up of the next elections in order for all the parties to be satisfied with the electoral improvements and be ready to take part in the elections.
We come to Belgrade with a strong commitment to make this dialogue a success. Perhaps some are questioning why there is a need for a dialogue. The answer is simple - only through dialogue can we reach consensus, which is the basis for delivering on the expectations of all citizens of Serbia . As friends of Serbia, we are here to work together with all political forces who want to engage with us and who are willing to accept the ground rules of this dialogue. This is an exercise in practical European consensus building: Let us put the issues on the table, let us discuss and respect each other and let us always keep the bigger picture in mind.
9 July 2021
Inter-Party Dialogue round with the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia to be convened on 9 and 10 July 2021 in Belgrade
The Dialogue will take place following a comprehensive consultation phase with representatives of the parliamentary groups and opposition parties and blocks, as well as Civil society organisations between April and June 2021.
The objective is to enable a pragmatic dialogue among the participants to achieve concrete and consensual results. Equal space will be given to all participants sitting around the same table so that they can express their positions. This is an opportunity to achieve compromise in the key areas related to creating a political level-playing field ahead of the next elections.
Improving the political atmosphere between political forces and fostering meaningful dialogue is an essential step on Serbia's European integration path. With its role in the Inter-Party Dialogue process, the European Parliament underlines its continuous commitment to assist Serbia in that regard.
2 July 2021
Joint statement by the facilitators of the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
"Since the launch of the Second phase of the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, the European Parliament's facilitation team has been holding consultations with parliamentary groups inside the National Assembly, political parties and their representatives, government officials and civil society organizations in Serbia.
Due to the pandemic, these consultations have been held in a hybrid format in the premises of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the European Union Delegation in Serbia. The European Parliament's facilitation team extended invitations for holding consultations with all political parties and movements currently not represented in the National Assembly and that expressed initiative to participate to the Inter-Partly Dialogue.
The facilitation team has had constructive meetings with both parliamentary parties and non-parliamentary parties. However, it regrets the fact that the meeting with Enough is Enough Movement (Dosta je bilo -DJB) represented by their president Saša Radulović and vice-president Branka Stamenković did not materialize, due to the refusal to respect the security measures and standards for entering the premises of the EU Delegation in Belgrade where the meeting was organized. We underline that these measures and standards equally apply to all participants and that previously no issues of compliance have arisen.
Despite this situation, the European Parliament's facilitation team will continue to communicate with the Enough is Enough movement in view of the upcoming round of Inter-Party Dialogue."
For the latest news on the Inter Party Dialogue and other Democracy Support activities, follow us on Twitter at @EP_DEG
Strong commitment to the Jean Monnet Dialogue process and to delivering tangible results ahead of the next round of talks
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
Inter-Party Dialogue consultations: constructiveness and engagement of the stakeholders
"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
The newly elected Parliament and parliamentary leadership in Skopje confirmed their commitment to implement the conclusions of the last Jean Monnet Dialogue, held in February 2020, regarding the adoption of the amendments of parliamentary Rules of Procedures as agreed between all parliamentary groups. The Speaker of the Parliament of North Macedonia, Mr Talat Xhaferi informed the lead Members on the present political situation and the composition of parliamentary forces after the elections on 15 July 2020. Moreover, the Speaker underlined that a parliamentary working group on amending the Rules of Procedures will be re-established within the Sobranie, which will take into consideration what has already been agreed during the last Jean Monnet Dialogue and the new situation imposed by the pandemic. The coordinators of the parliamentary groups as well as the General Secretary of the Parliament of North Macedonia were present at the meeting.
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
"As facilitators of the Inter Party Dialogue in Serbia on behalf of the European Parliament, we would like to stress the importance of trust and confidence all political forces and the citizens should have in the work of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM).
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
Inter-Party Dialogue with Serbia - 2 February 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
MEP Launch of the second phase of the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of Serbia
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
Georgia: Leading MEPs react to the refusal of the political parties to reach an agreement
The full Statement is available here
1 April 2021
Statement on the resolution of the political crisis in Georgia
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
Joint statement of the facilitators of the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
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
Joint press statement of the facilitators of the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
"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.
Georgia: Leading MEPs call on all political forces to “put aside their partisan interests”
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
Online consultations related to the European Parliament's facilitated Jean Monnet Dialogue process with the Parliament of North Macedonia
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:
- Message by Michael Gahler, working with former President Pat Cox in the Jean Monnet Dialogue process with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and Lead-Member for the capacity building activities in Ukraine
- Message by Andreas Schieder, Chair of the Delegation to the EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee, one of the Facilitators of the Jean Monnet Dialogue in the Sobranie of North Macedonia
- Message by Marion Walsmann, one of the Facilitators of the Jean Monnet Dialogue in the Sobranie of North Macedonia
- Message by Ilhan Kyuchyuk, one of the Facilitators of the Jean Monnet Dialogue in the Sobranie of North Macedonia
- Message by Tanja Fajon, facilitator with Vladimír Bilčík for the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of Serbia and Lead Member for the capacity building activities in the Western Balkans
- Message by Vladimír Bilčík, facilitator with Tanja Fajon for the Inter-Party Dialogue with the National Assembly of Serbia and Lead Member for the capacity buildinga ctivities in the Western Balkans
- Message by Michael Gahler, Lead Member for the capacity building activities in Ukraine (PDF - 6 KB)
- Message by Andreas Schieder, Facilitator of the Jean Monnet Dialogue in the Sobranie of North Macedonia
- Message by Marion Walsmann, Facilitator of the Jean Monnet Dialogue in the Sobranie of North Macedonia
- Message by Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Facilitator of the Jean Monnet Dialogue in the Sobranie of North Macedonia
- Message by Tanja Fajon, Lead Member for the capacity building activities in the Western Balkans and Facilitator of Inter-Party Dialogue in Serbian National Assembly
- Message by Vladimír Bilčík, Lead Member for the capacity building activities in the Western Balkans and Facilitator of Inter-Party Dialogue in Serbian National Assembly