Wednesday, 12 September 2018 12:23

International Parliamentary Seminar on the Western Balkans in London ends

Regional cooperation crucial for the stability of the Western Balkans

For the first time since the London summit, regional parliamentarians, together with their British counterparts, discussed issues of common concern, promoting democratisation of neighboring states and mutual cooperation.

MPs from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia agreed that the mutual dialogue and the regional connection were the key elements of stability. They also underlined the role of parliaments in implementing the ideas of the Berlin Process and maintaining pro-European policies in the Southeast Europe.

Speaking on the issue of strengthening the rule of law and prevention of corruption, Montenegrin parliamentarians Ms Marina Jočić and Mr Miloš Nikolić expressed different views on the state of corruption. MP Jočić pointed out that there was corruption and long-lasting government in Montenegro, and that significant efforts were needed for the democratisation of society and the rule of law, so that Montenegro can readily joint the family of European nations. Mr Nikolić highlighted the results of Montenegro so far in terms of reforms, which, in his opinion, were a confirmation of European systems of values and standards.

In his reply to the Montenegrin parliamentarians, Chair of this panel, Lord Thomas Gresford praised different views and dialogue, which, as he said, always result in better solutions. In this regard, he emphasised the importance of the checks and balances principle, and confirmed Montenegro’s efforts regarding the reform of the society.

In her capacity of a panellist, Ms Aleksandra Vuković spoke on "Parliament and Inclusive Policy". She informed her counterparts about Democracy Workshops project, which besides the Parliament of Montenegro, exists only in the Austrian Parliament. As a member of the Gender Equality Committee, she placed the work of the Committee in the focus of her presentation, in particular the role of women in political life, announcing amendments to the law relating to greater representation of women in the Parliament. Ms Vuković concluded that a Women parliamentary network should be formed within the Parliament, which would contribute to the enhanced cooperation among parliamentarians in the region, with the goal of consistent and coherent political action.

In the past three days, the economic and security aspects of regional cooperation were also discussed, as well as the cooperation between the parliament and the civil sector, the validation of soft power, the open bilateral issues and challenges of current migration.

The seminar was organised by the British delegation to the Interparliamentary Union.