European Union External Action

Remarks by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini following the meeting with Aleksandar Vučić, Serbian Prime Minister

Belgrade, 3 December 2015

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Thank you very much Prime Minister, dear Aleksandar [Vučić]. It is always a great pleasure to be back in Belgrade where I am glad to take part today to the Ministerial Council of the OSCE. And I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank and recognize the incredible work that Serbia has done in that respect as a Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE. The main message of the OSCE is cooperation in Europe that is the basis for our security. This is also the basis of the work we have done together in the region and we will for sure continue to do.

This is also the basis of the common work we have done in over the past since I have been in office on the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. A year that has seen so many agreements signed and on which you know you can count on me personally, and the European Union to work to guarantee as much as possible on our side a smooth implementation of the agreements that we have already signed, but also the continuation of the dialogue to see further areas where an agreement can be beneficial for both sides.

You can count on the European Union to partner with Serbia for the stability, the security and the prosperity of the region of the Western Balkans. This is not only in the interest of Serbia or of the countries in the region. This is in the interest of the entire European Union. You know, my nationality makes it quite natural for me to see that the interests of the Western Balkans are the interests of all the Europeans. So, what is good for Serbia, what is good for the region, is also good for the rest of Europe.

We are together in this. And we see this every day when we work in very difficult conditions on the refugee and migration crisis, but we understand that we are together, regardless of being Members or non-Members of the European Union. We see it every day in our work against terrorism and radicalisation. Again there is no border. There is no distinction. We are together in this. We need each other and we need each other in cooperating for our respective security and stability.

And let me appreciate Serbia's role in the region - under your leadership - especially in the last year, having made very important symbolic but also substantial steps to contribute to understanding and cooperation in the region. We appreciate that. This is truly - I would not say Serbia at best - but for sure European spirit at its best. And let me also say that I am looking forward to working together more and more while on the 14 December we can expect opening two chapters - 32 and 35 - for more detailed negotiations.

I will always remember when I first visited you in my new capacity, here in Belgrade quite some months ago. I was publicly saying "opening chapters has to be something that we do before the end of the year". And I think that on the 14 December we can tick the box "done" and look forward for a more intense cooperation.

Let me thank for that because you said it is going to be very important for Serbian people. Let me say this is also going to be very important for the European Union. This is a process that it is beneficial for both and this is the spirit in which we are going to work. On this, on regional cooperation, on the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and on the overall challenges we have: security wise, political, energy wise. We are partners and we are friends.

I thank you very much.

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