This year, the Republic of Serbia will have the honour to host the 141st IPU Assembly that will be held in Belgrade, from 13 to 17 October 2019. This will be the second time that Belgrade will host the International Parliamentary organisation’s annual session, 56 years after the 52nd IPU Assembly was held in Belgrade in 1963.
Generations of outstanding Serbian and Yugoslav MPs have worked hard and advocated the proclaimed principles and goals of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, including peace, cooperation among nations, and building up representative institutions, all of this through the broadest and most comprehensive parliamentary dialogue. Through the efforts of the Parliament and MPs, these goals have been integrated into the political being of our country. With equal commitment, we continue to defend and promote these goals in our daily work.
The highly set goals, such as peace, cooperation, dialogue, the law and security have been built into the foundations of the existence and work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union since its establishment in 1889. The Union enjoys full international legality, credibility and political capacity, with its 170 full Members through their respective Parliaments and 11 Associated Members, different international parliamentary bodies, which are active actors of contemporary international relations.
With such a world-wide coverage, character and political capacity in the international parliamentary dimension, the Inter-Parliamentary Union can rightly be deemed the Parliamentary United Nations.
The Republic of Serbia is, by its constitutional and legal structure, a parliamentary democracy resting on the principles of separation of powers, with the leading role of the legislative power and the Parliament. The National Assembly is the foundation and a guarantor of the democratic and legal order and functioning of the state. Our country is undergoing pre-accession negotiations with the European Union in order to become its full-fledged Member State. This implies building up democratic institutions, a legal state, and a political system based on the rule of law and respect of human rights.
The EU integration process implies the acceptance, integration, and implementation of the EU acquis communautaire, which can be achieved in terms of quality and quantity only by achieving standards of democratic societies, rule of law and democratic institutions. All of these are also the strategic goals of the Republic of Serbia for the forthcoming period.
In pursuing these strategic goals, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, through its principles and instruments, can and should have a vital role and function, in accordance with its strategic goals and activities. This is exactly what the Republic of Serbia and its Parliament recognize as a relevant and inevitable part of their future cooperation with the IPU. The future role of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in terms of its cooperation with the Republic of Serbia and its National Assembly should be defined in three key aspects: preservation of general peace, stability and constructive cooperation, at all levels; promotion, development and application of the democratic principles and standards and building up democratic institutions and the rule of law in Serbia; full implementation of parliamentary diplomacy and full affirmation of the Parliament in international relations. I would particularly like to emphasize the relevance of parliamentary diplomacy, the key holder of which is the Inter-Parliamentary Union, since it is at present very much in focus not only as a legal discipline and practice, but also as an institutionally accepted, standardized and integrated mechanism for communication and action in international law and international relations as a whole.
In the forthcoming period, the National Assembly will continue investing great efforts in achieving common goals promoted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and enhancing cooperation with the organization itself and its Members.