Parliament ratifies SAA, Russian energy deal

BELGRADE, BRUSSELS -- MPs have ratified the SAA, the Transitional Agreement with the EU, and the energy agreement with Russia.

Parliament ahead of the voting today (FoNet)
Parliament ahead of the voting today (FoNet)

140 MPs from the governing coalition and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) voted for the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), while 28 from the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and New Serbia (NS) voted against.

Serb Radical Party (SRS) MPs and Tomislav Nikolić's new Forward Serbia MP club abstained.

They did, however, vote in favor of the energy agreement with Russia, which received the support of 214 MPs, including all those from the governing coalition, except four from the League of Vojvodina Social Democrats. The remaining 18 votes against came from within the ranks of the LDP and the Union of Vojvodina Hungarians.

Parliament also adopted 11bills on ratifying various international loan agreements worth a total of EUR 286.5.

The LDP voted in favor of these agreements, while the DSS, NS and SRS abstained.

After voting, Speaker Slavica Đukić Dejanović called a meeting of party whips.

Voting took place today after the government withdrew from parliamentary procedure the draft resolution on Kosovo, which brought to an end parliament's debate on the items on the agenda

European Commission welcomes ratification

The European Commission (EC) welcomes the ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) by the Serbian parliament and at the same time underscores that the decision on the process of ratification of the SAA and the taking of effect of the Interim Agreement is in the hands of the EU member-states, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn's Spokesperson Krisztina Nagy said in Brussels on Tuesday.

Today's ratification of the SAA in the Serbian parliament is good news, Nagy said, addressing a press conference. She underscored that the EC encourages every measure that brings Serbia closer to the EU.

As regards the EU, the decision on the ratification of the SAA and the taking of effect of the Interim Agreement is in the hands of the Council of Ministers, as it is clearly stated in the conclusions of the Council of Ministers of April 29, she said.

The EC made it clear that, following the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, it believes the commercial part of the agreement should take effect, but yet again - the decision is in the hands of the member-states, Nagy underscored.

The EU Council of Ministers will discuss a possible decision on the taking of effect of the Interim Agreement at a meeting in Brussels on Sept 15, after Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) visits Belgrade on September 10 and 11.