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Friday, 09. September 2016. 17:25

Regional parliamentary conference in Belgrade begins

Regional parliamentary conference on the topic “Strengthening regional cooperation in the Western Balkans parliaments with the aim of improving public financial management” has been opened in Belgrade today.

The conference is organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, World Bank and Regional Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration of the Western Balkans.

Two-day conference, which has gathered MPs and representatives of the six Western Balkan parliaments (Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Macedonia) as well as experts of the World Bank for public finance, representatives of ministries of finance and representatives of supreme audit institutions, was opened by Mr Vladimir Marinković, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

On day one of the conference, three panels were held. During the first panel, Ms Urška Zrinski, Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank, and Mr Aleksandar Damjanović, Chairperson of the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget of the Parliament of Montenegro, spoke on the topic: "Introduction to PEFA", a mechanism for assessing public revenues and financial responsibilities. During the talk, the interlocutors stressed the importance of PEFA as a tool for improving different programmes and assessing the progress and results in the system of public financial management, i.e. in the process of adopting and implementing the budget.

During the second session on the topic “Evaluation of PI-18 and PI-31 in the Western Balkans”, i.e. applying the PEFA performance indicators relating to indicators PI-18 (legislative oversight of the budget) and PI-31 (legislative oversight reports on audit), the following spoke Mr Mitchell O'Brien, Mr Ivor Bruges, Ms Urška Zrinskii and Mr Ermal Vila, World Bank experts. They also presented comparative review of the Western Balkan countries, as well as concreate results of PEFA assessment of public finance and budgetary procedures.

Third session on the topic “Towards open budgetary process and stronger financial oversight” included the address of Chairperson of the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget Mr Aleksandar Damjanović and Chairperson of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and Chairperson of the Finances and Budget Committee of the Macedonian Assembly Mr Marjanco Nikolov.
They presented the comparative review of the budget cycle in these countries, regulation and practice in the consideration of the budget and final accounts of the state budget, as well as the audit reports with a focus on tools that enable adequate control and monitoring of the implementation of the decisions of parliaments. In addition, they exchanged views on the work of the parliamentary budget office in Serbia and the newly established budget office in the Parliament of Montenegro.

After the third panel, the participants opened a debate where MPs of the Western Balkans parliaments participated, and proposed the possible modalities of improving cooperation in order to strengthen control over the spending of public funds.
On day one, members of the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget took part in the conference, namely: Mr Veljko Zarubica, Mr Filip Vuković and Mr Nik Gjeloshaj.