Presiding Officer meets with Western Balkans Network

16.06.2014

Supporting democracy and parliamentary scrutiny will be the focus when the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer meets with representatives from eight legislatures in the Western Balkans today (Monday 16 June).

The Montenegrin Parliament will be the venue for this visit, which is the latest in a series of engagements undertaken by Scottish parliamentarians in association with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy’s (WFD) Network of Parliamentary Committees for Economy, Finance and European Integration of the Western Balkans.

Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP, said: 

“Our Parliament, in partnership with WFD, has been instrumental over the past two years in providing hands-on information, advice and support to help contribute to democratic developments in the Western Balkans. I look forward to visiting the region for the first time and meeting with my counterparts in the Network to take stock of our work so far and explore areas where we can assist in future.”

The relationship between the Scottish Parliament and the Western Balkans was established to foster dialogue and to highlight good practice in parliamentary scrutiny functions. Several visits have already taken place, most recently in March when the Convener of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Murdo Fraser MSP, attended a meeting of the Network in Belgrade to speak about scrutiny of economic development policy.

The Presiding Officer will hold meetings with representatives from eight Western Balkan Parliaments for six countries: Albania; Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bosnia and Herzegovina Federal Parliament; Republic of Srpska; Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia; Montenegro; National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo Assembly has observer status within the Network.

Background

The relationship between the Scottish Parliament and the Western Balkans was established as part of the Scottish Parliament’s International Strategy in 2011 and the Parliament has been working with WFD to support the development of democratic best practice.  The visit costs for the three person delegation are being met by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and are estimated to be £3,800. This visit is the latest in a series of relationship building engagements. Later in June, the Scottish Parliament will welcome Members of the Budget and Finance Committees of the eight participating Parliaments and Assemblies from the Western Balkans region for a two day programme.

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