The Head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with France MA Jadranka Jovanovic met today with a delegation of the Senate of the Republic of France at the National Assembly House.
At the beginning of the meeting, Jadranka Jovanovic greeted the guests, highlighting the traditional friendship that connects the two nations.
Speaking about parliamentary diplomacy, she reminded the guests of the visits exchanged in the past two years, adding that the Parliamentary Friendship Group with France boasts 91 members from different political parties.
Jovanovic also said that she was re-elected to the position of Head of the NARS delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie, stressing how highly she values the support the French delegation provides to the National Assembly’s activities in the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie. She added that at the plenary session in Abidjan, in 2019, Serbia changed its status from an observer to associate member of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie.
"Serbia is a key factor of stability in the region and clearly demonstrates its European orientation. Serbia's strategic goal is EU membership and we expect support from France in that sense," said Jadranka Jovanovic.
She expressed thanked the French leadership for the support and continuation of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
The Head of the PFG with France stressed that the National Assembly is working intensively on strengthening regional cooperation and strengthening good neighbourly relations.
She went on to speak about the economic cooperation, which is good, but has the potential for further improvement. Also, cooperation in the field of defence is at a high level, especially the cooperation we achieve through the EU mission, participation of Serbian officers in operation ATALANTA in Somalia, taking place within the French contingent.
Jovanovic opined that cultural cooperation is very important in view of the historical relations between the two countries.
Marta de Cidrac, Senator, head of the regional friendship group with the countries of the Western Balkans, greeted her hosts and expressed satisfaction with the visit to the National Assembly.
She said that the visit to Serbia was part of the visit to the countries of the Western Balkans aspiring to join the European Union, adding that the Regional Friendship Group with the countries of the Western Balkans has delegated presidents for each country in the region, Senator Mickaël Vallet being the one for Serbia.
Mickaël Vallet highlighted the historical and friendly relations between the two countries, as well as good bilateral relations.
He was interested in Serbia’s European integration process, adding that France supports it on that path.
Economic relations are good, as evidenced by the fact that France is among the 15 of Serbia’s most important economic partners, Vallet pointed out.
Speaking of cultural cooperation, he opined that learning French in Serbia is invaluable. The French vision of Francophonie is multilingualism and any new language learned enriches the culture of the people.
He then spoke about defence cooperation, adding that Serbia’s readiness to take part in the Takuba Task Force is of special importance for France.
National Assembly Deputy Speaker Dr Vladimir Orlic took part in the meeting, taking the opportunity to greet the guests on behalf of the National Assembly Speaker, on behalf of the MPs and on his own behalf. He informed the attending that he was elected from the list headed by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, which has an absolute majority in the Parliament.
Dr Vladimir Orlic pointed out that full EU membership is Serbia’s strategic commitment.
He informed the delegation of the French Senate that Serbia is ready to open two more clusters by the end of this year and expected support and understanding from all of our European partners.
"We are proud of the cooperation with our European friends, with the People's Republic of China, Russian Federation and the US, as well as with other countries in the world," Orlic said.
Speaking about significant economic cooperation, Orlic said that there is room for additional improvement.
"Serbia is in the best place for investments in this part of Europe and we are very proud of the policy we are pursuing, which, among other things, includes the very important "Open Balkans" project, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s personal initiative," said the National Assembly Deputy Speaker.
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Prof. Dr Zarko Obradovic also addressed the guests, as did the members of the PFG with France Toma Fila and Natasa Mihailovic Vacic.
Prof. Dr Zarko Obradovic said that though Serbia has opened a large number of negotiation chapters, Chapter 35, referring to the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, is crucial in the negotiation process. The reason the process has slowed down does not lie in Serbia’s administration or capacities, but in the stagnation of the dialogue with Pristina, which has not fulfilled the provision of the Brussels Agreement signed in 2013 calling for the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo-Metohija.