Press Advisories

10. 12. 2018 17:44

Prime Minister Babiš met with Serbian Prime Minister Brnabić, welcomed the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on the settlement of Serbian debt

Předseda vlády Andrej Babiš přijal v pondělí 10. prosince 2018 v Kramářově vile srbskou premiérku Anu Brnabićovou
Předseda vlády Andrej Babiš přijal v pondělí 10. prosince 2018 v Kramářově vile srbskou premiérku Anu Brnabićovou
On Monday, 10 December 2018, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš received the Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić in the Kramář’s Villa. They talked about the economic relations of both countries, defence and security cooperation. Prime Minister Babiš also assured his Serbian colleague of the Czech support for Serbia’s accession to the European Union.

The Republic of Serbia has long been one of the important partners of the Czech Republic, being our ally already during the First Czechoslovak Republic under the so-called “Small Agreement”. There is also a large Czech community in the part of Serbia called Banat, and many Serbs work or study in the Czech Republic. “Serbia, as one of only a few countries, has been included in the priority employee card programme. We are very pleased that more than 2,000 Serb citizens work in our country, because, as we know, labour shortage is our biggest problem”, said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

The Czech Prime Minister appreciated that the Serbian debt to the Czech Republic – one of the burdens from the past – has been resolved. During the reception of Prime Minister Brnabić by President Miloš Zeman at the Prague Castle, an intergovernmental agreement on the settlement of Serbia’s debt to the Czech Republic was signed. “This debt was inherited by Serbia after the collapse of Yugoslavia”, said Prime Minister Babiš. “I think that this agreement is a good example for other successor states of the former Yugoslavia, and I would like to thank our Serbian partners for this.”

Both politicians agreed that the Czech-Serbian relations have intensified in recent years, also thanks to the Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation. “Our trade with Serbia is steadily growing, last year’s turnover was CZK 866 million and this year should be even better. I am glad that trade is not one-sided and that the share of Serbian imports is increasing. We will be glad to see Serbia coming closer to the European Union and soon becoming a member of the World Trade Organization”, added Prime Minister Babiš. The Czech Republic is now the fourth largest investor in Serbia. Czech companies are interested in projects for the use of natural resources, minerals and power engineering projects, especially those concerning hydroelectric plants. Both countries also cooperate, for example, in the field of military education, defence and military logistics.

Prime Minister Babiš also mentioned Czech aid to Serbia to face migration, when the Czech Republic, in addition to financial and humanitarian aid, gradually sent to Serbia 150 police officers to help manage migratory wave and protect the borders. The Czech Prime Minister also promised the Serbian Prime Minister active international assistance in reducing tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. “I think our Serbian partners have a very constructive approach to this issue, as they aim to solve it with a dialogue”, said A. Babiš.

The Czech Republic is also intensively advocating the accession of Serbia and other Western Balkan countries to the European Union. “As with other countries in the Western Balkans, we naturally support the entry of Serbia into the European Union and we will be glad to see it happen as soon as possible”, said Prime Minister Babiš.

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