2 December 2020  The MPs at online Interparliamentary meeting pf the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee

2 December 2020 The MPs at online Interparliamentary meeting pf the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

MPs at EP Foreign Affairs Committee Interparliamentary Meeting

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Zarko Obradovic, Deputy Committee Chairperson Vesna Markovic, European Integration Committee Deputy Chairperson Dusica Stojkovic and Committee member Nemanja Joksimovic took part in the Interparliamentary meeting organized by the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, held online on 2 December 2020.

The meeting was opened by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister and the MPs took part in the panel on “Western Balkans: 25 years after the Dayton Accords".

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of European Commission Josep Borrell, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi, EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and the Western Balkans Miroslav Lajcak and the Director of the International Crisis Group's Balkan Office Marko Prelec spoke about the importance of the Dayton Agreement, which ended the war in the heart of Europe, as well as the European prospects of the Western Balkan countries and the support the EU provides along the way, and the need for regional cooperation and maintaining good-neighbourly relations.

In his address, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Prof. Dr Zarko Obradovic said that Serbia is committed to EU accession which is the country’s foreign policy priority. Regional cooperation, as the engine of development in the region, is also one of the Serbia's foreign policy priorities, said Obradovic. In its process of European integration, Serbia has a special negotiating chapter which concerns the normalization of relations with Pristina, he pointed out adding that the existing problems can be solved only through dialogue and finding a compromise solution. Belgrade cannot be expected to agree to the independence of the so-called state of Kosovo, Obradovic stressed. The Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman also stated that Pristina has not fulfilled its obligation assumed under the Brussels Agreement - establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities, which is of exceptional importance for Serbia. Obradovic asked Mr. Lajcak - When will Pristina fulfil its obligations from the Brussels Agreement, and what can the EU do to make sure the obligation is fulfilled, considering that the EU was the guarantor of that agreement?

Speaking of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zarko Obradovic said that Serbia supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina in accordance with the Dayton Agreement, and all solutions related to the functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina must be sought through an agreement between two entities and three peoples.

The Deputy Chairperson of the European Integration Committee Dusica Stojkovic emphasized Serbia's strategic commitment to EU membership. She also stressed the importance of intensive regional cooperation, as a fundamental starting point for the integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union. Serbia is determined to resolve all open issues with the countries of the region through dialogue, as well as to promote economic cooperation in the region, Stojkovic stressed adding that the "mini-Schengen", Western Balkans Transport Community and the Western Balkans Fund initiatives are of great importance for it. Along with these processes, the implementation of internal reforms in the countries of the Western Balkans is extremely important, Dusica Stojkovic pointed out.

At the end of the conference, Miroslav Lajcak answered the question posed by Prof. Dr Zarko Obradovic noting that all obligations undertaken in the past must absolutely be implemented.

The Interparliamentary meeting, attended by members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and representatives of the national parliaments of the EU Member States and the Western Balkans, also addressed the topic “A united EU response in support of democratic change in Belarus”.

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