20 March 2023 The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in meeting with the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag

20 March 2023 The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in meeting with the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag

Monday, 20 March 2023

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Borko Stefanovic and Delegation Meet with Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman

The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, headed by Committee Chairman Borko Stefanovic, met today with the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag Michael Roth, in the National Assembly, where they exchanged opinions on the European integration of the Republic of Serbia and the current situation in Europe.

At the beginning of the meeting, Stefanovic thanked his German colleague for the meeting and the opportunity for Committee members to exchange opinions on current topics in the region and Europe. He drew attention to the undeniable need for continuous cooperation with EU countries and the support Serbia receives from these countries on its European path. Stressing that the issue of Serbia's European integration is visibly burdened by the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, he said that this issue of national importance must not under any circumstances be conditioned by the recognition of the so-called State of Kosovo and its membership in the United Nations. He went on to stress that, for the Serbian side, the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities is of crucial importance for the survival of our people, as well as the survival of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo-Metohija. Stefanovic said that Roth's visit comes at a good time, as the National Assembly is debating the neutral position Serbia is trying to maintain as regards the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and bearing in mind its already strained position, alignment of foreign policy with EU foreign policy, would best help the national interests of the state and all of its citizens. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, then took the opportunity to thank Germany for its support in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, economic investments in Serbia and the country’s European integration. He also said that the frequency of meetings with EU colleagues is very important for the National Assembly, as well as the talks, experiences and views exchanged in them.

Roth agreed that mutual visits are extremely important for MPs and members of the Government. He pointed out that it is vital for Serbia that European integration be a matter of consensus and that Serbia not being part of its community is equally detrimental for the European Union as well. He added that it is important that Serbia and the European Union share common values, and in that sense, an aligned foreign policy. He praised the regional cooperation between the countries of the Western Balkans, which, he said, gives a positive impetus to reconciliation in the region and its further progress. He expressed concern that the Serbia citizens do not have a realistic picture of the very close cooperation between Serbia and the European Union, at all levels, adding that granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova would not affect Serbia's European integration.

Committee members Marina Ragus, Nemanja Joksimovic, Adrijana Avramov, Ugljesa Markovic, Ksenija Markovic and Djordje Miketic stressed that EU accession remains Serbia’s chief foreign policy goal, but also expressed different political views as regards the rule of law, civic freedoms, freedom of the media, and the speed and quality of the reforms in Serbia. The members of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee expressed a common view that Germany is an important partner for Serbia on many issues, including the economic aspect.

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