The Head of the Parliamentary Group of Friendship with Portugal Nemanja Joksimovic met today at the National Assembly with Portuguese Ambassador in Belgrade H.E. Maria Virgínia Mendes Da Silva Pina to discuss the relations between the two countries and support to Serbia's European integration.
Nemanja Joksimovic pointed out that bilateral relations between the two countries are good and friendly, and that there is potential to further improve them in a variety of areas. He opined that parliamentary cooperation has so far been underdeveloped and expressed his belief that the PFG’s activities would contribute to its improvement.
The PFG with Portugal has 47 members and is one of the largest ones in the current National Assembly legislature, unlike in the previous one when it had only five members, Nemanja Joskimovic pointed out adding that this shows the MPs’ interest in deepening cooperation with their Portuguese counterparts. He opined that an exchange of experiences between the parliamentarians is in common interest, for us especially in the context of Serbia's European integration.
Joksimovic also said that cooperation at the multilateral level is significantly better, especially in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, considering that Serbia supported the candidacy of the current IPU President Duarte Pacheco.
The Head of the PFG with Portugal emphasised Serbia's commitment to the European path and implementation of necessary reforms. He pointed out that Serbia has made significant progress in the reform process, especially as regards the rule of law, and informed the Portuguese Ambassador that the process of constitutional change is currently underway and that the National Assembly has adopted the Government's proposal for the Constitutional change in the field of the judiciary. In that regard, he expressed the belief that conditions have been met to opening of at least one negotiating cluster in the near future.
Joksimovic thanked the Portuguese Ambassador for the support to Serbia’s European integration process and Portugal’s continuous commitment to the EU enlargement policy, even during its presidency of the EU Council despite the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Portuguese Ambassador in Belgrade H.E. Maria Virgínia Mendes Da Silva Pina agreed with her host that the political relations between our two countries are good, as reflected in the fact that there is always mutual support for candidacies in international organisations, which both countries can count on. She expressed support for the initiative of the Serbian Ambassador to Portugal to form a PFG with Serbia in the Portuguese Parliament to foster closer cooperation between parliamentarians.
There is room to improve economic relations and cooperation, she pointed out adding that Portuguese companies have assessed that the Serbian market is favourable for investments.
The Portuguese Ambassador also said that Portugal is always, regardless of the circumstances, committed to EU enlargement, emphasising that the Western Balkan region belongs in Europe and should be part of the EU. She opined that Serbia has achieved progress in its reform processes and that the rule of law should be continuously worked on, which is a task not only for the candidate countries, but for the EU member states as well.