The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic met today with the Speaker of the Czech Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondracek, at whose invitation she is paying an official bilateral visit to the Czech Republic.
Gojkovic said that the two countries share a traditional friendship and close ties, the cornerstone of their strong cooperation in a variety of fields of mutual interest, and took the opportunity to mention that Serbia and the Czech Republic marked a centenary of diplomatic relations last year.
Speaking of the two countries’ uninterrupted political dialogue, Gojkovic said that it is their parliaments’ duty to, as representatives of the citizens, continue to develop the aforementioned friendship and cooperation.
Gojkovic thanked the Czech Republic for its support of Serbia’s European integration, saying how important it is, in view of the many challenges the EU is faced with, to have friendly countries such as the Czech Republic send a strong message of encouragement. Gojkovic said that this message is important for both Serbia and the region as a whole, since the enlargement policy is in fact a policy of stability for the region and the entire Europe.
Gojkovic also said that Serbia is continuing with its reforms in the interest of the Serbian citizens and the improvement of overall standards, adding that the country has so far opened 16 negotiation chapters and is ready to open 5 new ones, so it would be good to speed up the dynamics.
The Speaker of the Czech Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondracek opined that the relations between Serbia and the Czech Republic are excellent, at the political as well as economic level, as is their scientific, educational and cultural cooperation.
Vondracek agreed that parliaments are essential for expanding cooperation and suggested developing parliamentary cooperation between the countries of the Visegrad Group and Serbia and the countries of the Western Balkans.
Vondracek stated that the Czech Republic supports Serbia’s path to the EU, saying that despite the coming European election and the challenges of Brexit, the EU should continue with its enlargement policy because that is a principle it was founded on and it is responsible for the development and stability in Europe.
Gojkovic briefed Vondracek on the situation in Kosovo-Metohija, reminding him of Pristina’s recent imposition of a 100% customs tax on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and establishment of the so-called Kosovo Army, which can destabilize the entire region. Gojkovic said that Belgrade is ready to talk, but Pristina needs to revoke the customs tax.
Gojkovic went on to say that the Serbian Assembly is open to expanding parliamentary cooperation at the level of working bodies viz. committees on foreign affairs and European integration, as well as in the fields of economy, agriculture, education, science, technological development and culture, and at the level of parliamentary friendship groups.
The Serbian Assembly Speaker went on to emphasize the importance of cooperation between the national delegations to international parliamentary organizations, adding that Serbia, as the host of the 141st IPU Assembly in October, expects a Czech delegation to take part in the summit.
In the spirit of promoting parliamentary relations, Gojkovic invited Vondracek to visit Serbia, to which he responded that a great many Czech businessmen are interested in visiting Serbia and he too is eager to come.
Gojkovic also met with the President of the Czech Senate Jaroslav Kubera and the two officials stressed that the two countries are ready to further their friendly ties.
Gojkovic and Kubera praised the rising volume of trade and investments, saying that there is room to expand cooperation in the spheres of tourism, environmental protection and education.
Kubera stressed that the Czech Republic supports Serbia’s efforts to become an EU member and Gojkovic thanked him for the support and went on to brief the Senate President on the situation in Kosovo-Metohija after the imposition of illegal measures by Pristina.
Kubera was grateful for the support of the Czech national minority in Serbia, and Gojkovic stressed that the national minorities are the bridge that connects the two countries.
The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Zarko Obradovic is also part of the National Assembly delegation.