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European Western Balkans
European Integration

Inter-parliamentary Conference on Civic Representation and Political Participation of National and Ethnic Minorities

National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia was hosting an Inter-parliamentary Conference on Civic Representation and Political Participation of National and Ethnic minorities on 20 and 21 November 2014.

Attendees of the conference were Members of the European Parliament, MPs of EU pre-accession and potential candidate countries (Albania, Montenegro and Serbia), representatives of the European Union Delegation to Serbia, representatives of the ministries and independent state bodies in the Republic of Serbia, representatives of national minority councils, civil society organisations, and Serbian and European experts.

Introductory statements were given by H.E. Ms Maja Gojković, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and Ivo Vajgl, MEP and Member of Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament.

Maja Gojkovic said that Serbian minorities are currently in the process of setting up their national councils, following the 26 October elections. She added that Serbia is dedicated to EU membership.

It is important that the Western Balkan countries adopt European values and standards, said Ivo Vajgl, addressing the participants of the conference.

The topics that were covered on the fist day of the conferences are National and supranational guarantees – Constitutional norms and electoral systems, their interpretation and the practice (presented by professor Giovanni Poggeschi, University of Salento, Italy and Mr Pál Csáky, MEP and Member of Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) and Beyond protection: promoting reconciliation, preventing security threats – from peaceful coexistence towards integrative citizenship (presented by Mr Meho Omerović, MP and Chair of Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Ivo Vajgl and Mr Emir Adzović, Coordinator of the Joint European Union/Council of Europe Project Promoting Human Rights and Minority Protection In South East Europe).

On the second day, the participants were addressed by Mr Aleksandar Senić, MP, Chair of the Committee on EU Integration of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. Topics that were covered are National minorities – proactive players for social cohesion? (presented by Pr. Dr. Tove Hansen Malloy, Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues, Flensburg and Mr Csaba Sógor, MEP and Member of Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs). The second part of the second day was dedicated to debate on experiences in Western Balkans on inclusion of minorities and other vulnerable groups (the participants who were active the most during the debate were Ms Vasilika Hysi, Member of the Legal Issues, Public Aministration and Human Rights Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Albania, Doc. Dr. Srđa Popović, Member of the Human Rights and Freedom Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro and Meho Omerović). The participants who took part in the debate, represented the laws and the ways of minority inclusion in their countries.

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