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Meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met earlier today with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, to discuss Serbia's European path, continuation fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, implementation of political and economic reforms, with particular emphasis on the rule of law and plans for new EU investments in our country.

President Vučić thanked the EU for its support to Serbia in structural reforms and economic measures and the EU investments in our country. The President especially expressed hope that the first contingents of vaccines from the COVAX programme promoted by the European Union will arrive soon.

"Serbia was among the first to join this programme, thus showing once again that it is a serious and reliable partner of the European Union. I am convinced that together, with solidarity and mutual understanding, we will manage to get out of this crisis and continue working to recover the economy," said President Vučić, adding that the EU is the most important foreign trade and investment partner of our country since two-thirds of our trade and investments are related to EU countries.

The Head of the EU Delegation, Sem Fabrizi, affirmed that the EU will continue with solidarity to the fullest extent and that it will continuously work on ensuring the distribution of vaccines both in Serbia and in the Western Balkans countries. He expressed satisfaction with the Government of Serbia's results, especially emphasising that timely and decisive measures taken in the fight against the coronavirus contributed to maintaining the country's economic stability during the pandemic.

"Thanks to the current structural reforms, Serbia, in line with the accession process, has shown resilience to the crisis and the ability to mitigate the effects on the economy with excellent results in the healthcare area", Sem Fabrizi said, stressing that the pandemic did not affect the undoubted commitment of the Western Balkans to the EU process.

Ambassador Fabrizi also introduced President Vučić to the new head of the EIB's Office for the Western Balkans, Alessandro Bragonzi, who pointed out that it was a great honour for him to take over activities for the region at a time when it is facing such a difficult crisis.

The European Investment Bank invested 873 million euros in the Western Balkans during 2020, which is about 50 per cent more than in the previous year. Most of the assets, i.e. 531 million euros, are in line with the European Union's priorities for increasing connectivity and has been invested in the construction and modernisation of transportation infrastructure in the region.

"Serbia will continue its outstanding cooperation with the EIB, as we are strongly committed to building an economy based on sound and solid foundations, as well as on innovation and all other projects supported by the EIB so far, which have undoubtedly contributed to our good economic results in 2020", said President Vučić and pointed out that further improvement of the health system in Serbia, development of the infrastructure network and implementation of the green and digital agenda remain key priorities of Serbia. The President also expressed hope that with the EIB's support, the planned projects will be successfully completed.

"Following this commitment, Serbia is determined to create an even more favourable business climate with additional packages of subsidies for the investors from the EU who want to invest in our country", said President Vučić.

"The European Union and the European Investment Bank, with the approach of 'Team Europe', support Serbia's strategic goals, including in the field of connectivity, environment and energy and work on priority projects such as reconstruction and construction of an additional building of the Clinical Centre of Serbia, reconstruction of the Clinical Centre Vojvodina, modernisation of railway infrastructure, gas interconnector from Bulgaria, Mir highway and Corridor 10", said Ambassador Fabrizi and expressed the EU's readiness to continue with investments that will encourage further economic growth of Serbia, which are at the heart of the new EU economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans.

He said that Serbia must continue its European path and that further support of the Union in strengthening, adopting and implementing reforms is critical, for the benefit of the citizens.

"We will continue to work intensively on fulfilling the European agenda, aimed at opening new chapters and faster progress on the path to EU membership", concluded President Vučić.

President Vučić and Ambassador Fabrizi discussed the process of harmonising Serbia's legislation with the legislation of the European Union and agreed that more energetic work is needed in the area of the rule of law.

The two interlocutors also discussed judicial reform, the fight against corruption, media freedom and the resumption of inter-party dialogue.

Ambassador Fabrizi and President Vučić confirmed the importance of continuing the EU facilitated dialogue with Priština.

Belgrade, 4th February 2021


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