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J. Joksimović: Improving economies is an interest of the citizens of the region and a framework for better relations

December 26 2019 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Improving economies is an interest of the citizens of the region and a framework for better relations

“The interest of the citizens of the entire region is to take the economy as the best framework for improving relations, pacifying the entire region, as well as for reconciliation and reduction of prejudices”, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said today, commenting on the ‘mini-Schengen’ regional initiative.

Responding to a question raised by United Serbia's MP Vojislav Vujić, who expressed his interest in whether the cooperation, such as ‘mini-Schengen’ between Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania, would also spread to other countries in the region, Joksimović has said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić worked in the interest of the citizens when he launched that initiative.

“The interest of the citizens of the entire region is to take the economy as the best framework for improving relations, pacifying the entire region, for reconciliation and reducing prejudice. When you have four basic freedoms - the freedom of movement of capital, the freedom of movement of people, services, and ideas, you then give birth to the diplomacy of the people. It is no longer just an international reference of the government, parliament, or the ministers," Joksimović has said.

As she has said, one of the preconditions for European integration is regional cooperation, and this cooperation also brings benefits - economic, security and political benefits, to all citizens of Serbia and the region, which was a guiding idea in respect of the initiative by President Vučić and Serbia.

"This is not a substitute for European integration, this is an authentic regional initiative, an authentic initiative of the President of Serbia and Serbia itself, always seen as some hegemon with special interests in the region. But we are not a hegemon, but a responsible state that wants others to prosper as well, and we believe that only as such will we be more interesting and competitive on the big European market," the Minister has said.

She has recalled that Montenegro initially reacted negatively to the said proposal, adding that if you are a country that wants to join the EU – and Montenegro is the country that has opened the most chapters in the accession negotiations – that is binding.

"If you want to enter the EU, in a much stronger and bigger market, and you say that a subregional and regional market is not to your liking, then how do you think you will increase the competitiveness of the economy in order to access the European Single Market? That is why they too have realized the advantage of this initiative," Joksimović has noted.

She has added that this was also a kind of an additional exercise for practicing good economy and for what comprises the common market.

"Montenegro, which is still, alongside Serbia, the frontrunner in the European integration process, should respect the minority, human, civil and religious rights of all those who live in Montenegro, and in that sense I think that European integration is a good framework for this topic as well," she has said.

Commenting on the statements of MP Đorđe Vukadinović, for whom she has said is a great apologist for Boris Tadić, and who, according to her, praised the angry facial expression of German Chancellor Angela Merkel 10 years ago at a meeting with Boris Tadić, Joksimović has said that Merkel's expression back then showed her astonishment at the fact that a president of a country such as Serbia was making false promises, which might be to the liking of some within the EU, even though they did not align with Serbia's national interests, while, at the same time, he did not have the courage to deliver on his promises made to the international community, and implement them in the internal policy, for fear that he might lose the elections. “Therefore, everyone was given false promises”.

"What we did and what Vučić did, and the reason why Serbia is now respected are sustainable, rational, reasonable, feasible and, from Serbia's point of view, acceptable solutions we could stand behind, without the promise that others will like it and that we will work for the sake of others," Joksimović has said, adding that the world respects you only when you defend the interests of your people, even when it does not agree with it.

Those who promise all concessions only so that they would remain in power are not appreciated internationally, but are accepted as temporary partners to cooperate with while reaping benefits for another country, and are later rejected when their role ends.

"This is not the case with this Government, and this is not the case with President Vučić - we are fighting for our interests in a sensible, very responsible, very mature and very determined way," she has said.

Stating that not everything is mentioned in public, Joksimović has said that she has never addressed the public to speak about the nature of the talks she held, but with a message to the citizens that the EU represents a good future for Serbia, “which does not mean that we are silent about and that we omit anything that it is not in the interest of our country”.

"One of the MPs said that Tanja Fajon had pressured the issue of electoral conditions - the Government and SNS did not make decisions under anyone's pressure, rather it was a reasonable dialogue and agreement, observing the fact that some things could be better, maybe not for our party, but that they may improve the overall context," Joksimović has said.

She has said that for responsible people, the pressure only comes from understanding the need to improve things further in the interest of the citizens.

Source: Tanjug