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In Serbia, Minister Petříček supported mutual trade and the country's accession to the EU
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In Serbia, Minister Petříček supported mutual trade and the country's EU ambitions

 

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček visited Serbia with a business delegation on Tuesday, 30 March. In addition to the opening of the Czech-Serbian Business Forum, he held talks with President Aleksandar Vučić, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, National Assembly President Ivica Dačić and Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković. The talks focused on the development of trade, support for regional cooperation, Serbia's EU ambitions, the development of the pandemic and the restart of tourism.

"Cooperation with the Western Balkans and its future integration into the EU is a Czech foreign policy priority," Minister Petříček said. "It is the way forward to achieve the stability and prosperity of the whole region. For accession negotiations to continue, relations between Belgrade and Pristina must improve, and I appreciate the progress made so far in this regard. Serbia is well on its way to the EU; it needs to continue with reforms." He added that democracy in Serbia would benefit from the presence of opposition parties in the National Assembly. Serbia gained the status of an acceding country in 2012, and the first accession chapters were opened in 2015.

"President Vučić and I also talked about tourism," the top Czech diplomat added. "Serbia will open its borders in the summer, including to Czech travellers. It even has an agreement with Greece, where Serbs often go in the summer, to recognise vaccinations. We must soon resolve the recognition of vaccines from countries outside the EU in accordance with the so-called Covid passport."

Trade was another main topic at the meeting. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, trade reached more than CZK 30 billion in 2020 and has tripled in the last decade. "We expect this rapid growth in the future as well, with Czech exporters establishing themselves mainly in engineering, energy, spa tourism, recycling and agriculture, but also contributing to the development of public transport or rail transport," Petříček noted.

The business delegation to Serbia consisted of representatives from a total of 16 entities, such as AŽD Praha, Škoda Transportation, LS Royal Mariánské lázně, Sigma DIZ Lutín, the Association of the Chemical Industry and Vodní zdroje Praha. The Business Forum, launched by the foreign ministers of both countries, was attended by 50 companies.

One of the largest Czech investment projects in Serbia is the entry of SEBRE into the Avala film studios, which was established in what was then Yugoslavia after the Second World War. In the 1990s, the famous films about Winnetou, for example, were made here. The company also uses the know-how of the Barrandov film studios in Belgrade, and 3,000 apartments for about 8,000 people, including a school, kindergarten and health centre, all designed by Czech architect Stanislav Fiala, will be built in the area.

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In Serbia, Minister Petříček supported mutual trade and the country's accession to the EU

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