23 February 2023 The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

23 February 2023 The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

Thursday, 23 February 2023

Foreign Affairs Committee Members Meet with Polish Foreign Ministry State Secretary

The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, headed by Borko Stefanovic met today with the Polish delegation currently in official visit to Serbia, headed by State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland Arkadiusz Mularczyk to discuss bilateral cooperation, which they agreed could be amply developed.

Mularczyk said the reason for his visit was first and foremost the intensification of cooperation between the two countries in the economic, energy and educational sectors, pointing out that to that end Poland plans to open an economic cooperation office and Polish cultural centre in Serbia. He invited the MPs to the economic conference scheduled for May this year in Poland, so as to establish contacts, noting that the geographical distance between the southern region of Poland and the Republic of Serbia is negligible in light of the cooperation that could be achieved. The State Secretary took the opportunity to talk about the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and its impact on Poland. He said that 10 million Ukrainian refugees have passed through Poland, with 3.5 million remaining in the country. He underlined that Poland supports Serbia on its European path, as well as the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, conducted under the auspices of the European Union. He pointed out that he is aware that the European integration process is stagnating, among other things, due to the misalignment of the Serbian and EU foreign policy. Once again he emphasised that the goal of his visit is the dialogue between Serbia and Poland and strengthening bilateral cooperation. He stated that he began his visit to Belgrade with a visit to the Museum of Genocide Victims in the Second World War, stressing that both the Serbian and Polish people had suffered historical injustice, as well as injustice of full war reparations, which in his opinion led to the economic imbalance between Eastern and Western Europe. He added that he himself is advocating for the establishment of an international platform of the countries that suffered the most during this period, to draw more attention to this issue.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Borko Stefanovic thanked Poland for supporting Serbia on its European path, agreeing with the fact that negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina are hindering European integration. He said that it is obvious that Albin Kurti is making unilateral and destructive moves, but it is in Serbia's interest to conduct negotiations at any cost and it is high time for Pristina to establish the Community of Serb Municipalities, considering that ten years have passed since the signing of the Brussels Agreement. He said that he was certain this would be a major topic during the meeting between the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Albin Kurti in Brussels. He pointed out that it is absolutely unacceptable for Serbia to recognise the so-called State of Kosovo or any reference concerning the recognition of the membership of Kosovo-Metohija in the United Nations, adding that the political parties are almost unanimous in this and that these issues transcend all party differences. He said that the future of Serbia is membership in the European Union and that the EU should not provide the Balkans with perspectives, but rather the date of entry into the EU for the entire region or the acceleration of the process. The Committee Chairman also emphasised the need to align with the European Union in the matter of foreign policy and restrictive measures towards Russia as soon as possible, as well as of the soonest possible membership in this community.

The meeting was also attended by Biljana Pantic Pilja, who expressed her pleasure at meeting with a colleague who, like her, is the head of the delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, expressing belief that cooperation would deepen. She thanked Poland for the support it provides Serbia in the European integration process, adding that the citizens are tired of the very slow progress and the application of special rules and double standards in it. She said that the citizens of Serbia have not forgotten life under sanctions and that Serbia’s geopolitical situation and historical conditions make it difficult to align Serbia's foreign policy with the EU.

The conversation also touched on the "Open Balkans" initiative, regional cooperation and repeat meetings aimed at continued cooperation between the two countries.

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