PM: We have recognizable policy, and stick to it
PM Aleksandar Vučić has said that Serbia has "a recognizable and good policy that it firmly adheres to" - and that "German Chancellor Angela Merkel knows that."Source: B92, RTS, Tanjug
The greatest achievements of Thursday's conference on the Western Balkans held in Berlin are "regional stability, economic prosperity and progress, and long-term problem solving," Vučić told Serbia's public broadcaster RTS.
Asked whether Serbia will find itself "in a position between the EU and the Russian capital," he said, "we can hope for a good solution, but it will not be easy."
"But we must work in the interest of Serbia, and we will seek the support and assistance of Germany in that. I am not afraid that Serbia will find itself between the hammer and the anvil, we are on the European path, but we cannot be tearing down some traditional friendships and what are Serbia's economic interests," Vučić said, recalling that he was elected to lead the government, and that he is "responsible to the people of Serbia."
According to Vučić, he discussed the Ukrainian crisis with Merkel, and exports of agricultural products, "and the not-so-easy situation in which Serbia finds itself."
"But Serbia has not made its policy to last 24 or 48 hours, it was thought through, it is responsible and serious, and we adhere to it," Vučić was quoted as saying.
When asked whether this was criticized by the German chancellor, he said:
"I cannot say that Merkel agrees with what we are doing one hundred percent, but we hold to our policy firmly."
Vučić also said that Serbia at the meeting came out with "five concrete proposals":
"I think our host Chancellor Merkel liked them all. One was immediately accepted by Merkel and all other participants, and it is to create a youth associations, modeled on what the Czech Republic and Poland, and France and Germany had."
As he said, the idea to have greater freedom for movement of goods, people and services across the region was "well accepted":
"We knew that it was impossible at this time to forge a full-fledged customs union, and it is a task for the future."
"Of course there was struggle concerning infrastructure projects, everyone is fighting for their country. We fought for our country and for those who are closest to us in the region, for what we thought could bring the most benefit to Serbia, but also to others. I believe that one of the three projects that we presented, at least one will certainly be accepted," said Vučić
The prime minister said he did not know which project that may be, and added he "thought that Merkel liked the railway to Montenegro, but also understood the importance of the Belgrade-Sarajevo project, which would go through Zvornik, Tuzla, Doboj."
Vučić said he thought "others insisted that we accept only the Niš-Prišina highway so that more money remains for some others," but that this highway was "also an important project for us."
Journalists wanted hear Vučić's comment on European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's statement that "EUR 12 billion was ready for pre-accession funds for the region in the next few years," and he replied:
"It's just like we received a billion and a half at the donor conference. When I hear these figures - 12 billion - I get a headache... Let someone give us 200-300 million, not 12 billion."
Vučić said that the crisis in Ukraine was also discussed on Thursday in Berlin and that he adhered to the position of Serbia - "since he must take into account the interests of the citizens of our country" - and that "there was no pressure in relation to Ukraine," while he even saw "partial understanding for our position."
As for the dialogue with Priština, the prime minister said there were "no problems" and that Belgrade was awaiting only the appointment of the next government in Priština to continue the talks.
When it comes to the goals to be completed by the next conference deedicated to the Balkans, he expressed the hope that one of the infrastructure projects would be finished, "or to at least move toward the implementation."
Vučić said that numerous reforms remain for Serbia to carry out, and that one of the topic in Berlin was "how to make Serbia and all other countries more competitive."