STA, 17 December 2019 - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec promised Slovenia's further assistance to Serbia in efforts to join the EU, as he visited the country on Tuesday. Talking to the press alongside his counterpart Ana Brnabić in Novi Sad, he said that there was no alternative to Serbia joining the EU.
The EU accession process is the most important tool in preserving economic stability in the region and its slowing down or suspension would carry serious consequences, Šarec said.
Brnabić thanked Šarec for Slovenia's political and technical support, adding that the countries' bilateral cooperation, both economic and political, were at a high level and with no open issues.
She noted that Slovenian companies are among the biggest investors in Serbia and that the number of Serbian investments in Slovenia is rising as well.
There are more than 1,500 companies with Slovenian capital in Serbia, employing some 25,000 people, she said. Trade is increasing, as well, exceeding EUR 1.6 billion in 2018, while the figure for the first nine months of this year was at EUR 870 million, according to Brnabić.
Šarec hopes the countries will strengthen their economic cooperation even further. He added that Slovenia valued highly joint implementation of the former Yugoslavia succession treaty.
He also touched on cooperation of the Slovenian and Serbian police forces in migration management, while Brnabić expressed the wish for a common European policy.
There can be no success in the fight against management unless the EU provides a uniform response and unless Frontex becomes more effective, Šarec also said. It is not up to individual countries to do their homework, everybody needs to take action, he added.
Slovenia and Serbia signed a cooperation protocol on internal security in the police force and a memorandum on technical cooperation in agriculture and rural development.
Šarec and the ministers accompanying him on the trip to Serbia took part in what was the fifth joint government session. A number of bilateral meetings on the ministerial level also took place.
Slovenia's Foreign Minister Miro Cerar met his counterpart Ivica Dačić and Jadranka Joksimović, the minister of EU affairs, to discuss the situation in the region and EU accession.
Joksimović also met Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek. The pair agreed to strengthen expert cooperation in cohesion policy.
Interior ministers Boštjan Poklukar and Nebojša Stefanović agreed that cooperation between their ministries and the countries' police forces was very good.
So far, Slovenia has deployed 26 groups of police officers to the Serbian-Bulgarian border. The ministers also discussed organised crime and terrorism.
Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Damjan Stanonik and Serbia's Agriculture Minister Branimir Nedimović talked about digitalisation in agriculture and signed a memorandum on technical cooperation and rural development.