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Selakovic: Serbia attaches great importance to the Berlin Process and regional cooperation

8 June 2021 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic participated today in an online meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Berlin Process participants.

Selakovic pointed out that Serbia attached great importance to this initiative which proved to be a good forum for strengthening regional cooperation and development, promoting a policy of reconciliation and overcoming inherited problems from the past.

“Serbia will always advocate a policy of peace and connectivity, because that is the only way to create the stability that is a precondition for economic growth and progress. Unfortunately, some have not yet grasped the real meaning and essence of the Berlin Process, and they should first start to respect their internationally assumed obligations such as the Agreement on Regional Representation", Selakovic said, reacting to the fact that the Pristina representative displayed a flag of the self-proclaimed "Kosovo".

He added that the Berlin Process provided support to the EU integration of the Western Balkans through concrete projects and measures, and underlined in particular that it was the backbone of regional cooperation focused on economic connectivity, which was in line with the foreign policy orientation of the Serbian Government.

“With a responsible and well-designed economic policy, Serbia has achieved the highest growth in the region, and according to the GDP growth rate in the first quarter of 2021 of +1.7%, our country ranks first in Europe”, the Minister underlined.

As the most current example of cooperation in this initiative the Minister pointed out the establishment of the Common Regional Market in the Western Balkans.

“Serbia welcomes the Common Regional Market Action Plan. This document is largely based on concrete proposals stemming from an initiative launched by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in cooperation with the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia”, Selakovic said and added that its application would expand the possibilities for improving economic cooperation in the region.

Furthermore, he reflected on the decision to establish “Green Lanes” which enabled medical equipment and food to be transported unhindered through the region in the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, without delays at border and administrative crossings.

“Serbia has also demonstrated its commitment to improving regional cooperation by showing solidarity with its neighbours in the region, through the delivery of vaccine shipments and by enabling vaccination in Serbia, including for the secretariats of regional initiatives in which Serbia participates”, the Serbian Foreign Minister emphasized.

Selakovic also pointed to other concrete results of regional cooperation within this initiative, such as the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, the Southeast Europe Transport Community, with the seat in Belgrade, the Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum and the Agreement on the Price Reduction of the Roaming Services in the Western Balkan region.

Selakovic took the opportunity to reiterate that full membership of the EU was the key foreign policy and strategic goal of Serbia. He also pointed out that the enlargement policy was one of the most successful EU policies, that this course should be maintained, and concluded that Serbia and the entire region belonged in the EU.

The meeting was held as part of the German presidency of this initiative in the form of a video conference.

In his statement, Selakovic thanked Germany and Minister Maas for the strong support they extended to the entire Western Balkans, stating that it was this commitment that contributed to connectivity and deepening the cooperation in the region.

“The vision and support of Germany and Chancellor Merkel personally, expressed almost seven years ago, when the Berlin Process was launched, significantly contributed to the creation of the necessary conditions for closer connectivity in our region”, Selakovic said and added that the support and active approach of German partners were of inestimable importance. Furthermore, the Serbian Foreign Minister said that it was very important that other members of the European Union had also recognized the importance of the Berlin Process.

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