Alderman Arnold Hatch, NILGA President and Committee of the Regions Member is attending the 4th Enlargement Day in Brussels (3rd May) Joint Consultative Committee on SERBIA.
Alderman Hatch said “Our difficulties and problems in Northern Ireland are small when compared to those faced between Serbia and Kosovo. The “normalisation“ process has been stalled since 2013 due to the slow progress on some of the key points in the “Brussels Dialogue”.
Both sides and the Commission are using words that we are accustomed to in Northern Ireland and the Anglo-Irish Agreement namely “constructive ambiguity”.
The same language is being used between the UK and the EU 27 re Brexit when talking about a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
The Commission’s country report reiterates that Serbia has some level of preparation on administrative and judicial reforms and in the fight against corruption and organised crime. However, new laws that have been passed have not always been fully implemented.
The Commission is concerned that NO progress has been made on freedom of expression.
“At least we have plenty of that in Northern Ireland. Sometimes we over think too much in my own country and concentrate on matters which divide us, rather than those things which unite us and can clearly be solved with a more enterprising, less mechanical, approach to government. Councils – municipalities – are often the ones that get the work done, in terms of the economy, social cohesion and a stronger democracy” Alderman Hatch concluded.