The Chairperson of the European Integration Committee Elvira Kovacs met today with the newly-appointed Ambassador of Cyprus to the Republic of Serbia Andreas Photiou, welcoming him and wishing him a successful mandate in Serbia.
Kovacs said that she is maintaining strong ties with her Cypriot colleagues and that Serbia and Cyprus enjoy very close cooperation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe where they support one another on issues of common importance. At the Ambassador’s interest, she informed him about the mode of operation of the National Assembly’s European Integration Committee and its cooperation with the Government and the Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, as well as the Committee’s control role in the legislative harmonisation with EU standards. Kovacs said that the Western Balkans’ European integration process has been overshadowed by the conflict in Ukraine, but that Serbia is fully ready to open Cluster 3 and is waiting for a signal from the European Union to do so. She said that Serbia is making progress in all areas related to the EU accession process, which was also the opinion of the European Commission in its latest report.
Photiou thanked the Committee Chairperson for the welcome and for making the time to meet with him, also adding that a Cypriot parliamentary delegation will be paying an official visit to Serbia on 26 - 28 September 2023 which will also be an opportunity to deepen parliamentary cooperation. He stressed that Cyprus is advocating for the acceleration of Serbia and the Western Balkans’ accession to the European Union, adding that this process must not be lost from the EU’s focus, which is a message that was loudly conveyed to the Kingdom of Spain, which took over the presidency of the EU Council. He agreed with Kovacs that the opening of the clusters needs to pick up speed so that the public in Serbia does not lose interest in joining this community and in order to reduce the momentum of Euroscepticism that is growing in the Western Balkans. In the course of the meeting, Photiou stressed that Cyprus would not change its position regarding Kosovo-Metohija, also thanking Serbia for its efforts in PACE on the issue of Cypriot territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Ambassador also said that during his mandate he would pay special attention to deepening bilateral relations between the two countries, especially in the fields of economy, investments, tourism and culture.
The officials also discussed the meetings at international forums in the coming months, Serbia’s constructive position in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, despite the arbitrariness of Albin Kurti and his unilateral moves that endanger the Serbian people in Kosovo-Metohija. Kovacs and Photiou also discussed the problem of illegal migrants and how to solve this challenge in the most painless way possible for the people leaving the areas drawn into war conflicts.