11 October 2022 The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in meeting with the Finnish Ambassador to Serbia

11 October 2022 The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in meeting with the Finnish Ambassador to Serbia

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

There Is No Alternative for Serbia with Regard to EU, Says Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman in Meeting with Finnish, Swiss and Slovak Ambassadors

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Borko Stefanovic met today at the National Assembly House with the ambassadors of Finland Kimmo Lähdevirta, Switzerland Urs Schmid and Slovakia Fedor Rosocha.

In the talks with the ambassadors, Stefanovic emphasised the need for continuous cooperation with EU countries, as well as the support Serbia receives from these countries on its European path, adding that this process must receive an additional impulse, especially in the current situation happening all over Europe.

He went on to say that delaying the constitution of the Government is harmful for Serbia, because it is one of the key factors that would resolve the issue of diversification of the country's supply of gas and other energy sources, as well as dependent relations with Moscow. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee restated that, after the formation of the Government, he would submit an initiative to harmonise Serbia's foreign policy with the European Union's, which has dropped from 60 to 45%. He stressed that Serbia is a militarily neutral, but not a politically neutral country, since it is a candidate for EU membership. Stefanovic also opined that the Western Balkans’ needs concrete and tangible moves by the European Union, in terms of the process of expanding this community.

The ambassadors were interested in the work of assembly committees and the time frame for the formation of the Government, with Stefanovic stating that the atmosphere in the Foreign Affairs Committee is predominantly collegial and constructive, primarily guided by common interests for the benefit of the citizens. He stressed that one of his goals is to find a constructive solution and resolve the frozen relations with Pristina, which could be tackled by signing a comprehensive and binding contract, which would resolve the tension between the two parties and would not include the issue of the signatories’ sovereignty. The Committee Chairman went on to underline the position that Serbia should not be asked or pressured to recognise the so-called state of Kosovo.

Responding to the Committee Chairman’s question, Finnish Ambassador Kimmo Lähdevirta said that Finland does not have many companies operating in Serbia, which can be changed by applying the same measures towards Russia, as undertaken by the European Union. Stefanovic said that the stagnation of foreign investments could lead to the withdrawal of previously invested capital, a scenario which would not be in the interest of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia. He said that the EU is Serbia's main economic partner, with whom the country shares the same or very similar interests and values, adding that there is no alternative for Serbia when it comes to the European Union.

Swiss Ambassador Urs Schmid and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Borko Stefanovic jointly emphasised the importance of the Parliament, its transparency and efficiency in its work. They agreed that the programs the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation is implementing in the National Assembly and local assemblies, in cooperation with UNDP, are important in this sense.

Ambassador Schmid added that the Serbian diaspora in Switzerland is a very important factor of cooperation and good relations between the two countries, pointing out that Swiss citizens of Serbian origin are behind many Swiss investments and companies operating in Serbia and employing over 12,000 Serbian citizens.

Commenting on the increasing importance of parliamentary diplomacy, Slovak Ambassador Fedor Rosocha opined that direct contacts between parliamentarians could further deepen relations between Serbia and Slovakia, which have, throughout history, shared good understanding and the same approach to sensitive topics. Stefanovic thanked Slovakia for its principled stance and non-recognition of the independence of the so-called state of Kosovo, with Ambassador Rosocha affirming that Slovakia's position on that matter would not change. He expressed his support for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which should lead to a solution that both sides would be satisfied with.

In the course of the meeting, Rosocha and Stefanovic agreed that efforts should be made to ensure that the good political relations between Serbia and Slovakia are accompanied by similar economic relations and cooperation.

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wednesday, 4 october
  • 9.00 - sitting of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)

  • 10.00 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)

  • 12.00 - sitting of the Culture and Information Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 4)

Full event calendar