Swiss Journalists in the National Assembly of Serbia

23 Apr 2014

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The group of Swiss journalists, who were accompanying the President of Switzerland in his official visit to Serbia, visited the National Assembly of Serbia today. On that occasion they were presented the UNDP and  the National Assembly of Serbia Project “Strengthening the Oversight Function and Transparency of the Parliament” supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Ms. Isabel Perich, the Director of Swiss Cooperation Office in Serbia, thanked for the warm welcome and insightful tour around the National Assembly. “A well-functioning Parliament is crucial for any democracy, and this is why Switzerland supports the institutional strengthening of the Serbian National Assembly” said Ms. Perich. Swiss support focuses mainly on two aspects: 1) improving the ability of the Serbian Parliament to oversee actions of the Government, e.g. to assess the fiscal consequences of laws, and 2) improving the quality of the legislative process which is a key competence of the National Assembly, by bringing the Assembly closer to the citizens and making sure that citizen’s interests are incorporated into national regulations. The project is made possible thanks to the good partnership between Serbia, Switzerland and UNDP.

Ms. Irena Vojackova Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia stressed the importance of parliamentary development in Serbia and praised the partnership between UNDP and SDC in this Project and the need for support to strengthening good governance in Serbia.     

Amongst the two MPs who addressed the journalists, representatives from the Swiss Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were Ms. Olgica Batic, MP and Vice-Chair of the Serbian chapter of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC) and Ms. Dubravka Filipovski, MP, member of the Parliamentary Friendship Group between Switzerland and Serbia and the Women’s Parliamentary Network. Ms. Batic presented the work of GOPAC, its main activities and impact. She stressed that the Serbian GOPAC chapter gathers members from all parliamentary groups and that its primary goal was the control of public spending. Ms. Filipovski used the opportunity to thank both UNDP and SDC for the support in further development of National Assembly.

Ms. Mirjana Radakovic, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Assembly, and Head of the Legislative Sector of the National Assembly referred to the adopting of the most recent Rules of Procedure, the new Law on National Assembly as important steps towards reaching financial independence. A clear need for support in strengthening its capacities to perform the representative and scrutiny role remains to be objective of the National Assembly’s cooperation with the parliamentary development partners and in particular UNDP.

Ms. Biljana Ledenican, UNDP Portfolio Manager for Parliamentary Development, presented the political context and Project achievements to date as well as plans for the upcoming period: “A number of newly introduced parliamentary mechanisms such as public hearings, mobile committee sessions and live streaming contribute to an enhanced outreach towards citizens which in return should secure stronger public participation but also social accountability. We are particularly pleased to have an excellent cooperation with MPs and the Secretariat and a strong partnership and ownership of these Project outcomes.”