The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Integration Committee met today with a delegation of the Senate of the Republic of France headed by Senate President Gérard Larcher, currently in official visit to the Republic of Serbia.
The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Borko Stefanovic said that Serbia and France are bound by an alliance and close ties dating back to World War One. He thanked France for supporting Serbia’s European integration and for understanding the importance of EU expansion to the Western Balkans. Stefanovic stressed how much he appreciated the French initiatives to find a compromise and acceptable solution for Belgrade and Pristina as regards the situation in Kosovo-Metohija. Belgrade is trying to patiently, through negotiations, achieve normalisation in the relations with Pristina, Stefanovic said, adding that, for us, recognition of the independence of so-called Kosovo, as well as its membership in the UN, is unacceptable.
French Senate President Gérard Larcher pointed out that the EU accession of Serbia, as well as the entire Western Balkans, is a matter of mutual interest, adding that it is very important that the EU itself remains committed to its core values, civilizational and cultural. Larcher stressed that the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is vital in order to overcome tensions, enable the development of the region and remove the obstacles on its European path. He also said that it is very important for the European countries to stand in solidarity with the EU's foreign and security policy.
The officials emphasised the importance of implementing the Brussels Agreement and its most important provision, the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities. They also opined that regional cooperation, through the Open Balkans initiative, as well as the Berlin process, is extremely important for the Western Balkans.
The meeting was also attended by the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marina Ragus, Dubravka Filipovski, Draginja Vlk and Stefan Jovanovic, as well as the members of the European Integration Committee Ana Miljanic, Dunja Simonovic Bratic, Zagorka Aleksic, Natan Albahari, Ana Beloica and Milan Radin.
In a conversation with the President of the French Senate, as well as with the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Affairs Committee and the Parliamentary Friendship Group for the Western Balkans in the Senate of France, they stressed that EU membership is Serbia's foreign policy priority, also noting that Serbia's European integration process is taking too long and that our country needs to receive some concrete positive signals from the EU itself.
The participants of the meeting jointly assessed that this visit of the French parliamentary delegation will make a significant contribution to interparliamentary cooperation and that it would be mutually beneficial to maintain regular contacts and exchange visits of the committees responsible for foreign and European affairs, as well as the friendship groups of the two parliaments.
They agreed that parliamentary diplomacy offers the possibility of open discussions, bearing in mind that parliamentarians are directly elected representatives of citizens.