Deputy Speaker Orlic emphasised the importance of this, as he said, historic meeting as it is the first visit of a Lithuanian parliamentary delegation to the National Assembly. He was most pleased to have the opportunity to broach issues of importance for the cooperation between our parliaments and states.
In the course of the meeting, Dr Vladimir Orlic stressed that Serbia's strategic commitment to membership in the European Union is clearly expressed in every segment of its state policy. "Lithuania's experience, understanding and support on that path are of exceptional importance," Orlic pointed out, stressing that Serbia is ready to open two more negotiation clusters by the end of this year and expects support for it.
Orlic went on to point out that Serbia is the leader of the European integration process in the region, as well as the engine of regional cooperation. The "Open Balkans" initiative, launched by the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, which means open borders, development of the economy and the common market, free flow of people and capital in the region, is the embodiment of European values, said Orlic. He added that he expected the entire Western Balkans region would be involved in this type of cooperation, because the formation of a common market would secure more investments for all the countries in the region than before.
Speaking of the economy, Dr Vladimir Orlic said that Serbia attracts twice as many direct investments as all other countries in the Western Balkans combined, which is a clear proof of the successful economic policy pursued by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Government. Our commitment to cooperation and the success of the independent policy we are pursuing was best seen in the provision of vaccines for many of the countries in the region, which the President of Serbia personally handed out to many of our neighbours as relief. This showed that the policy of protecting our state interests brings benefits to Serbia in the first place, as well as to others.
Speaking of the political dimension of European integration, the National Assembly Deputy Speaker informed the Lithuanian parliamentarians that Serbia has managed to raise the percentage of compliance with the EU’s official foreign policy from 46 to over 62%. He also said that the progress of the European integrations depends on the results of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Serbia considers Kosovo-Metohija an inalienable part of its territory and is committed to dialogue and finding a sustainable compromise solution, Orlic said adding that there is a chronic lack of will in Pristina to respect and implement what was agreed in the negotiations. The most important part of the Brussels Agreement, the obligation to establish a Community of Serb Municipalities, Pristina has not even begun to tackle, said Dr Vladimir Orlic. He pointed out that this is also a problem for the EU itself, as it was the mediator and guarantor of the agreement, and that it diminishes the EU’s credibility in the eyes of the Serbian citizens.
Audronius Azubalis, head of the Lithuanian parliamentary delegation, agreed with his host that this historic visit opens up possibilities for deepening cooperation between the parliamentarians and for a better understanding of the situation in this part of Europe. He was especially interested in Serbia's relations with the countries of the Western Balkans region.
Orlic and Azubalis agreed that parliamentarians can greatly contribute to the improvement of economic cooperation between the two countries. They opined that there are vast opportunities for business cooperation, mutual investments and bilateral trade, as well as for joint ventures onto third markets.
The meeting was also attended by the Head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Lithuania Ilija Matejic, as well as Lithuanian non-resident Ambassador to Serbia Vytautas Pinkus.