REPORT FROM THE ROUND TABLE
“Application of the positive experiences of the Nordic model of cooperation to the countries signatories of the Dayton Agreement could invigorate understanding and trust, resolve outstanding issues and accelerate those countries towards the European Union” – these were the main highlights of a round table held in Belgrade on September 20th 2012 from 11:00h till 12:30h at Media Center. The event was organized by the Center for Regionalism, the General Secretariat of the Igman Initiative with the support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade as part of a project whose main idea is the establishment of permanent forms of inter-parliamentary cooperation resembling the model of the Nordic Council.
Acknowledging these efforts of the Igman Initiative Mr. Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg, Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia indicated that no model can be transferred, literally, to other areas as it has its own unique characteristics. He also pointed out that it is least desirable to copy the institutional framework of a certain model of cooperation, however from the contents of such a model it is necessary to seize the element that is most applicable to another area. In this respect, by initiating the establishment of stronger inter-parliamentary cooperation, as well as making further steps toward elevating mutual relations of the countries of the Dayton Agreement to a higher level, the Igman Initiative have tapped into the right path of using the Nordic experience appropriately.
Ms. Sladjana Prica, Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the political will and determination of common interests and goals is necessary for the project to be realized to its fullest potential. With regards to the issues of common interest the members of parliaments from the countries of this region should perform together at international meetings, she said, stressing that the inter-parliamentary cooperation among the Western Balkans countries is insufficient and that there is much room for the improvement in this area.
Addressing the participants of the roundtable, Ms. Tanja Santrac, Advisor of Mr. Nebojsa Stefanovic,
President of the National Assembly of Serbia, conveyed Mr. Stefanovic’s greetings and his support to cooperation between the parliaments within this region as well as the implementation of the project implemented by Igman Initiative.
Aleksandar Popov, director of the Center for Regionalism and co-president of the Igman Initiative for Serbia, indicated that the main goal of the project is “Nordisation of relations in the Balkans,” and reminded that the Igman Initiative already promoted this idea on October 14th 2011 at its session held in Belgrade. “The first step in assimilating the Nordic model would be the improvement of inter-parliamentary cooperation while the distant goal is the establishment of the Council of Ministers similar to the Nordic Council of Ministers. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step“, reminded Mr. Popov.
Co-President of the Igman Initiative for Montenegro Branko Lukovac said that the Balkans is still undergoing the process of pacification, therefore the idea of transferring theNordic model of cooperation should not be jeopardized by the sense of urgency. However it is important that the implementation of the project have begun.
Participants were also addressed by Mr. Jan – Erik Enestam, Secretary General of the Nordic Council via video link, who encouraged the efforts of the Igman Initiative to improve the inter-parliamentary cooperation using in the Nordic Council as an example, hoping that it will receive the political will necessary for its advancement.