Serbia, France sign strategic partnership agreement

PARIS, BELGRADE -- Serbian and French Presidents Boris Tadić and Nicolas Sarkozy signed in Paris on Friday a political declaration meant to support Serbia's EU integration.

Nicolas Sarkozy and Boris Tadić (Tanjug)
Nicolas Sarkozy and Boris Tadić (Tanjug)

The agreement should also boost the relations between the two countries.

The declaration stresses the significance of Serbia's EU accession and the need to prepare the country for it.

The two officials also emphasized the importance of the two countries' cooperation in preparing Serbia to be included in EU institutions.

The document mentions also the need to continue cooperation when it comes to science and culture.

The two officials believe that reconciliation and acceptance of common values between European nations will bring peace and prosperity within the EU while acknowledging each nation's culture, history and tradition, the declaration reads.

The presidents underlined the importance of young people for the process.

The declaration calls for cooperation in security and defense as well.

The two countries are determined to improve their relations over time by implementing the strategic partnership agreement, says the document.

Tadić said earlier that Serbia was a modern, European state which was determined to take its place in the EU and that Belgrade was expecting to get the EU candidate status by the end of the year.

The Serbian president added that obtaining the candidate status and a date for the beginning of the accession negotiations with the EU would represent a political turning point for Serbia.

“I think we are facing a new beginning in our relations with France. The basis of those talks has in a way been determined by my last talk to President Sarkozy. These days we have been determining agreements which should represent new relations between France and Serbia in the field of economy and security policy in the years to come,” he stressed.

Belgrade believes that the two countries could renew the golden age of cooperation from the early 20th century, when France was one of Serbia’s main allies. Former Serbian Ambassador to France Predrag Simić thinks that the strategic partnership program is very important for Serbia.

“In this case it is France’s support which is crucial for a number of EU member states which listen to the French, one should not forget that we are far from the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) ratification, we are halfway there, the candidacy is extremely important to us,” he told B92.