Portugal favors unfreezing of trade deal

BELGRADE -- Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado on Tuesday in Belgrade met with his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremić.

Jeremić, Amado meet in Belgrade on Tuesday (Tanjug)
Jeremić, Amado meet in Belgrade on Tuesday (Tanjug)

Amado stated that his country urges for the unfreezing of a trade agreement between Serbia and the European Union, evaluating that Brussels should take into account "Belgrade's constructive role" in regards to the issue of EULEX.

Serbia and the EU signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) – of which the Interim Trade Agreement is a part – in late April, but the deal was immediately suspended. Brussels is demanding Belgrade's full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal in order for it to be implemented.

"We are committed to speeding up Serbia's integration into the EU and we appreciate very much the work and efforts of the Serbian government and we would like to mobilize our colleagues in Europe to speed up Serbia's integration," Amado said.

"Some of the recently made decisions should be discussed and the process of Serbia's accession in the EU should be accelerated," he continued.

The Portuguese minister also said that acceleration of European integrations of Serbia and the Western Balkans is "the main strategic goal".

“Peace and stability in the region have no alternative without Serbia's full integration in the EU. It is a complicated process and it is one of the biggest challenges that we are currently being faced with in Europe. That is why cooperation with the Serbian government is very important, and Europe will respond to the expectations of the Serbian people regarding a stronger cooperation with the EU,” said Amado.

According to Jeremić, Portugal is "one of the biggest supporters" of Serbia on its way to the EU.

He also said that the meeting today discussed economic, military and cultural cooperation between the two countries, underscoring that he plans to visit Portugal during the first quarter of 2009.

Kosovo, and the deployment of EULEX were also on the agenda as Jeremić met with Amado.

According to a Tanjug report, the Serbian minister said they both agreed that the status neutrality of EULEX in Kosovo "would be of crucial importance for the stability of the region".

Amado underlined that his country viewed the status neutral EULEX Mission as the foundation for peace and stability in the region, Tanjug says.

The cooperation between Serbia and the UN regarding EULEX is of key importance, and Serbia has played a very positive role in this respect, Amado assessed.