14 December 2021 Djordje Milicevic, member of the standing delegation to the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly

14 December 2021 Djordje Milicevic, member of the standing delegation to the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Djordje Milicevic Chairs Meeting of SEECP PA General Committee on Economy, Infrastructure and Energy

Djordje Milicevic, member of the standing delegation to the South East Europe Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly (SEECP PA), chaired a meeting of the organisation’s General Committee on Economy, Infrastructure and Energy on 14 December 2021.

At the very beginning, he greeted all the participants from Belgrade and in his address on "Economy of South East Europe in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: stakes and perspectives" stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic affects each country individually, but also has a global and regional context. That is why, he said, it is important to nurture the principles of regional and international cooperation, as well as good relations in the neighbourhood. A divided world cannot fight the common challenges humanity faces. International issues must be resolved through consultations and the future of the world should be decided by everyone working together. He added that everyone must adhere to the concept of cooperation based on mutual benefit in order to protect all the countries’ equal rights to development and promote competitiveness based on the principles of fairness and justice.

He said that Serbia clearly demonstrated its commitment to improving regional cooperation in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic by sending its neighbours vaccine shipments and enabling their vaccination in Serbia.

The COVID-19 pandemic is our new reality and as such determines the direction in which we will move in the coming years. As everywhere, the pandemic will have consequences for Serbia and the overall recovery will depend on the recovery at the regional and global level. Until now, the attribute of South East Europe, the Balkan Peninsula as a whole, has been particularism and division, but after all these years, we can see that the good actually lies in connecting and building and nurturing good neighbourly relations.

Milicevic said that meetings such as this one are an opportunity to connect, exchange experiences and agree on measures for joint action. There are numerous positive results of regional and economic cooperation, both in South East Europe and the Western Balkans, such as the Central European Free Trade Agreement, Western Balkans Fund, Regional Youth Cooperation Office, South East Europe Transport Community, etc.

He also underlined the importance of the Regional Cooperation Council, which, as a core regional initiative, gives concrete results, contributes to achieving economic progress and deepening cooperation.

Milicevic informed the attending that the Serbian Government had passed the Decree establishing a financial support programme for economic entities to maintain their liquidity and working capital in the difficult economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and has also undertaken a series of economic support measures aimed at increasing the liquidity of economic entities and their sustainability. He especially emphasised that, after difficult reforms and despite the pandemic, the Republic of Serbia is recording unprecedented results in its modern history.

Serbia is in the top in Europe in terms of growth rate, primarily thanks to the state’s financial support measures for the citizens and the economy, as well as excellent yields in the agricultural sector. Serbia strives to strengthen its position in the region in terms of foreign investments and development of innovations, artificial intelligence, robotics and digitalization, which leads to the creation of a better, more prosperous and satisfied society.

Milicevic praised the fact that, even in the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Serbian Government is doing everything in its power to ensure financial stability. Over 60% of the trade activities is with the EU and most of the foreign direct investments, over 68%, come from the EU. The EU's decision to open Cluster 4 in the negotiations with Serbia - transport policy, energy, trans-European networks, as well as the chapter on the environment and climate change, tells us that Serbia on the right track in the implementation of reforms.

In the course of the meeting, all the members of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly delegations addressed the topic "Economy of South East Europe in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: stakes and perspectives". The participants were also addressed by State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy Zoran Dimitrijevic and Regional Cooperation Council expert Pranvera Kastrati.

At the end of the meeting, the participants adopted the draft resolution and recommendations of the General Committee on Economy, Infrastructure and Energy, prepared by our presidency, sending a clear political message what is really important and what needs to be done to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region of South East Europe - that particularism is inapplicable in the fight against the global pandemic and that we need to work together to overcome this period as quickly and easily as possible.

Delegations from Ankara, Athens, Bucharest, Sarajevo, Skopje and Zagreb also took part in the meeting.

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