Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea met with his Serbian counterpart Zoran Pasalic, in which context a Memorandum of Understanding was concluded, reads a press release sent to issued on Tuesday.
The agenda of the two officials’ meeting, which took place at the end of last week in Bucharest, featured issues of interest related to the general attributions of the two institutions, presenting the similarities and differences that exist but also concrete aspects of their current activity.
“In the context of the priority theme of Romania’s term of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union – strengthening the global role of the European Union by promoting enlargement policy through the action of the Union in the neighborhood – the Romanian Ombudsman and the Protector of Citizens of the Republic of Serbia concluded a Memorandum of Understanding which aims, inter alia, to: exchange experience, best practices and information on solving petitions and other responsibilities of the signatories of the Memorandum, which they fulfill within their mandate and jurisdiction, including information on legislative acts and important decisions made by each country; mutual assistance and briefing on violations of the rights and freedoms of Serbian citizens on Romanian territory and of Romanian citizens on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, with regard to which the signatories of the Memorandum were informed by petitions addressed to their institutions,” the release informs.
The Memorandum also aims to organize joint events on the communication platforms of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), the European Institute of Ombudsman (EOI) and other organizations and networks, as well as the accomplishment of joint projects and programs, the organization of mutual visits, internships, courses and workshops, with the participation of representatives of the signatories of the Memorandum, in the framework of exchanges of experience and practical assistance in dealing with petitions and other duties of the signatories of the Memorandum which they fulfill within their mandate and jurisdiction, thus contributing to the protection of rights and human freedoms, the Ombudsman specifies.
Within the discussions, the establishment of formal relations within the Ombudsman Network in the Balkans was agreed upon during Romania’s exercising the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, a network whose establishment was initiated in Sofia in November 2018.
“The network is based on better cooperation between the Ombudsman institutions in the Balkan countries, the sharing of democratic values but also the identification of adequate solutions to the common problems faced by these countries: migration, refugee status, discrimination and the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups: minors, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, Roma communities, etc. Of course, the network sets out not limit itself to the Balkan countries, thus opening to the participation of the countries dealing with the problems mentioned above,” the press release said.
The MoU was signed in the presence of the Ambassador of Serbia in Bucharest, Branko Brankovic, the Ombudsman’s deputies, as well as representatives of the institutions of the two countries.