Macron & Vucic: Negotiations on Kosovo crucial; Support for EU’s Lajčák

NEWS 01.02.2021 14:17
Source: Tanjug/AP Photo/Michel Euler

France's and Serbia's presidents Emmanuel Macron and Aleksandar Vucic respectively are set to talk in Paris on Monday about European Union's enlargement policy, Belgrade – Pristina relations, the coronavirus pandemic and economic links between the two countries, including the construction of Belgrade's underground.

Macron said that it was necessary to continue the dialogue with the neighbours, especially with the Western Balkans despite the pandemic.

„I want to emphasise the place Serbia has for France,“ Macron said, adding: „The dialogue we had for three years is essential for me.“

He said he was „very happy“ to host Aleksandar Vucic again. „I well remember the fantastic welcome I was honoured with, and I remember the organisation during my visit to Belgrade in July 2019, which was full of friendship. I felt warmth in my heart,“ Macron, Serbia’s state RTS TV quoted him as saying.

„Last year, we defined a new methodology for conducting negotiations on accession to the EU. I want to thank President Vucic who said from the very beginning he supported it and that we could move forward together to fulfil obligations to accelerate reforms and necessary progress for Serbia towards the EU and continue to respond together to the aspirations of Serbia’s people,“ Macron said.

He listed the agenda of the meeting, adding that France and the EU wanted to be more present in the sphere of culture, education and economic investments, and the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations.

„These are important negotiations that are being conducted under the auspices of the European Union, and I want to emphasise once again France’s support for EU Special Envoy Miroslav Lajčák,“ Macron said.

He said he had talked with the Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdulah Hoti in November. He said he would speak with the next prime minister after the Kosovo elections due on February 14.

„We had talks full of trust with President Vucic on that topic. I welcome the risks he has taken several times to provide some innovative solutions. I am ready to support them, the solutions that will lead to progress on this issue essential for your country and people, and solutions that both sides will agree to. That will enable us to finally solve this important issue that is at the core of our Europe,“ Macron said.

Official Paris is expected to convey its expectations from the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina ahead of the country’s presidency of the European Union in 2022.

Vucic thanked Macron for his dedicated work and effort in developing bilateral relations and cooperation.

„France is an important country for us and a traditional true friend of Serbia. With Macron’s dedicated approach, we hope that we can solve the problems, but also increase economic cooperation and trade, which in 2019 was one billion and 200 million euros,“ Vucic said.

He expressed gratitude to the French company „Vance“, which took over the airport management in Belgrade, where it is already building new parts. Vucic also said building an underground system in Belgrade would change things for Serbia.

The future underground in Serbia, Vucic said was „one new moment of our cooperation, and we hope that at the end of the year we will start working on the first line. We agreed on almost everything with Alstom, the company which did a great job and we are deeply grateful to Macron for his help to make it possible,“ Vucic added.

The topic of conversation between the two officials will include the coronavirus pandemic.