Members of European Integration Committee, headed by Deputy Committee Chairperson Dubravka Filipovski, met today with German Bundestag member Dr Hendrik Hoppenstedt to discuss the Western Balkans, European Union and the migrant crisis.
Filipovski said that membership in the European Union remains Serbia's main foreign policy priority and that, despite the difficulties that it encounters in the process of European integration, it would not give up on improving its citizens’ standard of living. She pointed out that in the challenging times the whole of Europe is facing, the Union must send an additional impulse to Serbia and that the region needs to see some tangible moves from the European community regarding its expansion. The Committee Deputy Chairperson reminded the guest that Serbia had started the process of accession negotiations back in 2014, when it covered 35 negotiation chapters, with the new negotiation methodology in the form of clusters being adopted in 2021. She briefly explained the competences of the Committee and the National Assembly in this process i.e. control role in the process of harmonisation of domestic legislation with the EU acquis. Speaking of the negotiations, Filipovski said that on 17 October 2022, Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret handed the European Commission’s Report on Serbia to the National Assembly Speaker which notes progress, to a higher or lesser degree, in all areas except alignment with the EU common security and foreign policy and that at the European Integration Committee session held on 4 November the Committee members discussed the Report with the Ambassador and Minister of European Integration, and that the conclusions made at the time would be debated at a National Assembly session.
Filipovski also spoke about the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, stagnating due to the unilateral actions of Pristina Albanians, which, she stressed, threaten peace and stability in this part of Europe on a daily basis. She underlined that Serbia is trying to do everything in its power to help its citizens in the Southern Province and that it will continue to advocate and respect UN Security Council Resolution 1244, i.e. respect for international law and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
Hoppenstedt thanked the Committee members for their time, stressing that Germany supports the integration of Serbia as well as the entire Western Balkans, because, he said, the European Union is not complete without the countries of this region. He added that the Union is not only an economic benefit for the acceding countries, but a community that shares the same values in terms of peace and democracy. He thanked Serbia for its stance in condemning Russia's aggression against Ukraine and added that he understands the complex position Serbia has on this issue. He added that Russia's actions are unacceptable and that Europe must be unanimous in imposing sanctions on Russia.
Filipovski said that Serbia is a military neutral country and the interests of its citizens are the most important thing for its leadership. She referred to the fact that Serbia is a country that paid a high price with the breakup of Yugoslavia and walked a thorny path, which included aggression and imposition of sanctions, and taught by experience, firmly stands by the position that dialogue and peace are the only solution for countries with open issues.
The Bundestag member took the opportunity to discuss the migrant crisis and organised human trafficking structures with the members of the Committee, with Milan Radin and Goran Milic outlining the activities of the Ministry of the Interior, which had in the past period carried out several actions that dealt with this very issue. They restated that Serbia is seriously dealing with this issue and that migrants are accommodated in reception, asylum and transit centres.