National Assembly Deputy Speaker Veroljub Arsic greeted the visiting Slovenian Parliamentary delegation on behalf of the National Assembly Speaker, the National Assembly and himself.
He said that the two countries’ diplomatic relations have since the establishment in 2000 been exceptional, as evidenced by the reciprocal visits of high dignitaries. Arsic said that the Memorandum of Cooperation between the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the National Assembly (Drzavni Zbor) of Slovenia gave the relationship a new institutional form opened up additional room for comprehensive cooperation especially in terms of European integration.
He opined that the joint governmental sessions have given new momentum to the development of bilateral cooperation. He also highlighted the importance of parliamentary diplomacy, saying that parliamentary visits lead to an exchange of experiences and advancement of overall cooperation, especially in the spheres of culture, education and economy.
The Deputy Speaker went on to speak about the Slovenian national minority in Serbia, stressing that Serbia is a multi-ethnic state its Government upholds the highest standards of national minority freedoms and rights. Speaking of European integration, he said that EU accession is Serbia’s strategic objective and spoke about the problems the Pristina administration is causing viz. the illegal customs tariff imposed on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the establishment of the so-called Kosovo Army which contravene UNSC Resolution 1244.
The Head of the Slovenian PFG with Serbia Predrag Bakovic agreed that the high-level cooperation between the two states could be advanced in the spheres of culture, education and economy. In view of Serbia’s excellent geo-political position, he opined that the countries’ EU accession is of paramount importance, a process in aid of which Slovenia is ready to offer its experience and technical support.
Mentioning that about 1500 Slovenian companies are doing business in Serbia, Bakovic said that even better economic growth, especially in terms of digitalization and elector-infrastructure, is expected. He said he was pleased with the status of the Slovenian national minority in Serbia, adding that Serbs living in Slovenia are satisfied with their living standards.
Bakovic said that Slovenia’s policy on Kosovo remains consistent, but it does not support the illegally imposed customs tariffs on Serbian goods and the establishment of the so-called Kosovo Army which not only contravenes UNSC Resolution 1244 but affects the peace and stability in the whole region.
The members of the Slovenian PFG with Serbia Lidija Divjak Mirnik, Stasa Kobi Smid and Dr Franc Trcek opined that the overall cooperation is exceptionally good, with a special focus on improvements in the spheres of culture and economy.
Finally, Veroljub Arsic said he hoped for an intensification of cooperation via joint meetings of the two parliaments’ parliamentary friendship groups and working bodies.
He also hopes that Slovenia will be represented at the coming 141st IPU Assembly in Belgrade, 13 – 17 October, by a high-tier delegation.
The meeting was also attended by MP Milija Miletic, member of the PFG with Slovenia.