7 February 2022 The participants of the meeting

7 February 2022 The participants of the meeting

Monday, 7 February 2022

PFG with France Meets with French Ambassador to Serbia

The members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with France met with the Ambassador of the French Republic to the Republic of Serbia H.E. Pierre Cochard at the National Assembly House today.

The meeting was organised at the initiative of PFG Head MA Jadranka Jovanovic who was unable to attend for health reasons. Therefore, the meeting was led by PFG member Dubravka Filipovski, which MA Jadranka Jovanovic was especially grateful for.

Emphasising the traditional friendship between France and Serbia, which has gone through many different phases throughout history and managed to withstand various challenges and temptations, PFG member Dubravka Filipovski spoke of the visits of French parliamentary delegations recorded in the past three years, adding that exchange of visits is very important because it contributes to the improvement of overall bilateral relations. She also mentioned the successful visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Serbia in 2019, as well as to the visit of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to France in February 2021.

Dubravka Filipovski informed the Ambassador that the current legislature’s PFG with France consists of 88 MPs and pointed out that in July 2019, the National Assembly had become an associate member of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie, an important shift from its previous status of observer in the international organisation whose members cooperate in the field of culture, science, economy, justice and peace.

She underlined that Serbia is the key factor of stability in the region and clearly shows its pro-European orientation. "We are aware of the unequivocal support that France provides to Serbia European integration process," said Filipovski pointing out that European integration is still Serbia’s chief strategic priority. She added that Serbia is ready to open cluster 3 in the negotiation process, having opened clusters 1 and 4, and expressed hope that the enlargement process would continue unhindered in the coming period. Filipovski said that Serbia welcomes the fact that France marked the Western Balkans as a region of special strategic importance for the European Union during its presidency of the EU Council. "We consider President Macron’s position that the Western Balkans is more than a neighbourhood and that it represents the heart of Europe very important," she said.

Filipovski also spoke about the reform processes Serbia has initiated, the most significant of which being the amendment of the Constitution in the field of the judiciary, which has had a positive impact on the citizens’ trust in the European integration process. She said that Serbia has increased the percentage of compliance with foreign policy positions from 46% to 62%, which is a clear indicator of Serbia's commitment to the European integration process.

The officials also discussed regional cooperation, which Serbia is especially committed to, as well as the economic cooperation between Serbia and France, which had exceeded 1.1 billion EUR in turnover.

Greeting the attending MPs, Pierre Cochard said that, though he was appointed Ambassador only three months ago, he was greatly impressed by the strength of the friendship between the two peoples, as evidenced by the contacts with leaders and other structures in society. He spoke of the great interest of French companies in doing business in Serbia, mentioning French company Vinci’s concession agreement for "Nikola Tesla" airport, construction of the subway and French companies dealing with environmental protection also showing interest in investing in Serbia.

The Ambassador said that the activities of the French Development Agency in Serbia are on the rise, as are relations in the field of culture which is especially important, especially in the year Novi Sad has been declared the European Capital of Culture. He emphasised the importance of Francophonie and learning French in Serbian schools, adding that increasing the number of scholarships for Serbian students in France in a priority.

The Ambassador drew attention to the excellent bilateral cooperation, as evidenced by the mutual visits of two countries’ high officials.

Speaking of Serbia's European perspective, the Ambassador stressed that France would give its full support to Serbia on that path.

The officials also discussed the upcoming elections, both in Serbia and France, expressing hope that parliamentary friendship groups would be set up soon after the constitution of the parliaments.

The meeting was attended by PFG members Vesna Ivkovic, Jovan Palalic, Mladen Boskovic, Natasa Ivanovic, Ana Miljanic and Predrag Milosevic.

The participants of the meeting also exchanged opinions on Serbia’s European perspective, opening of negotiation clusters and improvement of cooperation in the field of information technologies, education and tourism.

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friday, 1 july
  • 11.00 - the National Assembly Speaker addresses the conference on the Position of Serbia’s in the Euro-Atlantic Community (National Assembly Building, 14 Kralja Milana Street, Grand Hall)

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