The European affairs committees of the Visegrad Group (V4) member states met on 17 June 2019 in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. A National Assembly delegation comprising Nenad Canak, Vesna Markovic and Dubravka Filipovski took part in the meeting that was also attended by Serbian Ambassador to Slovakia Momcilo Babic.
The Chairman of the European Integration Committee Nenad Canak spoke at one of the panels of Session I – “EU Enlargement” saying that it was an honour to be surrounded by people who understand Serbia’s position and the importance of European integration. Borders are a perennial problem in the Balkans and it is vital to make them disappear which can only be done by joining the EU. He reminded the attending of Frantisek Zach as the symbol of unity of them all and explained the specificity of Serbia’s position resulting from its relationship with the European Union and Russia. He said that the security of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija is a crucial issue that cannot be resolved without a strong Serbia and should become a point of cooperation instead of contention between the east and the west. He said that Serbia should be proud of the fact that its other province – Vojvodina, has the most multilingual assembly in Europe which is a value it would add to the European Union. Finally he concluded that the European Union should be the guarantor of peace and stability and Serbia is ready to give its contribution there, adding that the assistance and support of the V4 member states for Serbia’s EU accession efforts is very important.
Jan Carnugorsky, former Slovak Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, offered his view of Serbia’s EU accession saying that the two key problems there are the fact that Serbia is viewed as Russia’s ally and Kosovo-Metohija, problem created by the violation of Resolution 1244. He said that Slovakia is ashamed that it allowed the NATO bombers to fly over its territory in 1999 and would certainly not consent to something like that again.
In Session II, debate before the 61st COSAC Plenary, the participants opined that one of the V4’s stances should be that the EU needs to spread to the Western Balkans. In Session III the participants discussed the future of the EU in light of the European Parliament elections.
Reacting to the comment about the relationship between Russia and Serbia, MP Dubravka Filipovski stressed that EU accession remains Serbia’s top foreign priority as evidenced by its 65% trade with the EU member states, 18-25% with the states of CEFTA and mere 15% with everybody else.
The Conclusions of the meeting of the European affairs committees of the national parliaments of Visegrad Group member states recognized Serbia’s efforts to conduct reforms which should be reflected in an increase of opened and closed negotiation chapters, condemned the 100% customs tariff on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and offered strong support to Serbia’s EU accession which the V4 member states would advocate during the 61st COSAC Plenary.