National convention on Europian Union in Serbia
THE SPEECH OF MR. ŽIVORAD KOVAČEVIĆ AT THE FIRST PLENARY SESSION OF NATIONAL CONVENTION ON EU
“…Serbian orientation towards EU integration is not questionable. For the first time in the history, all countries of this turbulent, divided, and conflict region, their states, governments, and citizens have the same strategic orientation, and that represents the most perspective basis of their cooperation, peace, and regional stability. However, although it’s clear that EU is free and free willing community, not only of states, but also of people, societies, and citizens, our accession process has a narrow base, the most part of it, is happening in Governments’ buildings in Nemanjina Street, within their expertise, preparation for negotiations and within legislative initiatives… If there is a sincere wish for Euro integration to become care, property, and responsibility of entire society, and to provide full legitimacy of negotiation process, then it is necessary to institutionalize an idea related to necessity of including entire community in that process, as it was done in almost every country which have passed long, and difficult integration path.
… We, in the European movement, for long time, support the necessity of the widest social consensus which would be much more than today’s principle and rather verbal compliance and support, and which would activate huge positive professional and moral potential of numerous social actors in Serbia… From rich experiences of countries which have successfully passed the path of negotiations and accession, we find, as a specially worth and inspiring Slovak model of National Convention, and as we for long time cooperate with Slovak Foreign Policy Association, SPFA, whom we have already organized with a special conference on their experiences and together, we tried to adjust their model to our conditions…
… Therefore, the first thing is to institutionalize a cooperation of the state and numerous institutions and organization of civil society, at all levels, in a joint work of good management and addressing of EU accession process. This isn’t about limiting authorization and key role of state, but it is about enlarging the process base, and about creative contribution which NGOs, unions, professional organizations and experts, universities, chambers, and religious communities and wider public could give for improving the quality and speed of accession process. The main method is a structured debate within thematic groups, which form national position in certain areas through recommendations and which are directed by one common body - Chairmanship of NC EU and key words are:
- Providing information to citizens and institutions
- Transparency of process
- Partnership of state and civil society
There is no doubt that this kind of approach would give tree important benefits: first, numerous civic structures would be much better informed about EU integrations, and they would improve their capability to overwhelm European topics and challenges, second, government bodies would be given much better foundation and wider base for negotiation’ process, third, negotiations with EU would be more legitimized and democratic. Today we should agree on it.”
Part of Zivorad Kovacevic’ speech, member of Chairmanship of National Convention on EU, and a president of European Movement in Serbia, held at the first Plenary session of NC EU, September 30th, 2006.