Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Flemish and Serbian parliamentary delegations meet

A delegation of the Committee on Foreign Policy, European Affairs, International Co-Operation and Tourism of the Flemish Parliament met an extended delegation of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, which included members of the Committee on Development and International Economic Relations and the Committee on Trade and Tourism.



A delegation of the Committee on Foreign Policy, European Affairs, International Co-Operation and Tourism of the Flemish Parliament met an extended delegation of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, which included members of the Committee on Development and International Economic Relations and the Committee on Trade and Tourism. The meeting took place at Assembly House on 15 November.
On behalf of the Serbian delegation, the Flemish MPs were welcomed by Slobodan Vuckovic, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The guests, on a visit to Serbia as part of a tour of the wider region, expressed special interest in the political situation in Serbia. Their questions related mainly to the future of Kosovo and Serbian deputies’ views on Serbia’s accession to European integrations.
The talks underlined that views of political parties in Serbia did not differ on the issue of Kosovo’s future status: this has been confirmed in the new Constitution and was binding for any future government and parliament. There was both party political and wider popular consensus in Serbia, the meeting heard, as far as Kosovo’s status was concerned; Serbia’s national interest, it was also said, was for Kosovo to remain an integral part of Serbia’s territory.
Members of the Serbian delegation also said there were ‘no parties currently in parliament opposed to Serbia joining the European Union’, as well as that the new Constitution affirms Serbia’s acceptance of European principles and values.

When asked about Belgium’s views on Kosovo, the head of the Flemish delegation, Karim van Overmeire, said that the Flemish Parliament, a regional body, had great powers, but that issues such as this were handled at the federal level. Mr van Overmeire said that the Belgian government would follow EU policy on Kosovo.

The discussion also touched on foreign investment in Serbia, as well as the country’s export and tourism potentials. The meeting agreed that Serbia had managed to achieve political stability that has attracted foreign investors. Serbian deputies welcomed Belgium’s readiness to assist Serbia, and said Belgian support in joining the World Trade Organisation would prove invaluable.



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