J. Joksimović and Engelschiøn: Norway supports cooperation through regional initiatives
November 26 2019 | Belgrade
Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has talked with the Director-General of the Department for European Affairs of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Niels Engelschiøn, about the continuation of Serbia's European integration process and Serbia's plans in the said process, the situation in the region, bilateral relations and other topics.
Jadranka Joksimović has pointed to the importance of assistance and support that Norway, although not an EU Member State, has been providing to Serbia in the European integration process, which is primarily focused on standardisation and harmonisation of regulations, but also on reforms in areas such as the rule of law, public administration, environmental protection, competitiveness, climate change, i.e. the overall modernisation and development of the country.
The Minister has recalled that, since 2008, Norway has allocated over EUR 100 million in grants for numerous projects and expert and development assistance. Such assistance is primarily aimed at the country's internal development, sustainable European integration process, as well as for tackling many challenges – in the accession period and when Serbia becomes part of the EU. She has also underlined the cooperation in the segment of local and regional development, with particular emphasis on the development of poor municipalities, i.e. of the border areas.
Joksimović has also expressed her expectation that Finland, as the country presiding over the EU Council, will hold an Intergovernmental Conference in December, at which new negotiation chapters will be opened. This, as she has said, would be stimulating in terms of the continuation of Serbia's European integration process, but would also confirm that the EU has credibly evaluated the results in the areas of the rule of law and economy.
Jadranka Joksimović has also stressed that Serbia is actively and sincerely working on promoting regional cooperation. She has stressed that President Aleksandar Vučić's initiative - based on basic European values and experience, and supported by the Prime Ministers of North Macedonia and Albania, Zoran Zaev and Edi Rama, is a useful initiative in the spirit of values and freedoms on which the EU is based and which will intensify the overall cooperation and establishing of better relations. In this way, Serbia reaffirms its European commitment, but also the responsibility towards the region. She has also noted in this regard that the example of cooperation between the Nordic countries is a good example.
Director-General of the Department for European Affairs of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Niels Engelschiøn, has confirmed that his country - as a long-time partner and friend of Serbia - will continue to support and assist its progress, its European path and reforms. He has expressed his belief that the reforms Serbia is conducting yield positive results. The Norwegian experience regarding the cooperation between the Nordic countries is a good example of regional cooperation, which has also resulted in an improvement in overall political relations and strengthened the economies of all Nordic countries.
The interlocutors have assessed that the bilateral relations are good and friendly, and have particularly stressed the importance that both Norway and Serbia attach to multilateral foreign policy platforms, which are crucial for the sustainability of development and progress in current frameworks of international relations.