Serbian, Greek PMs support 2014 Agenda
"Serbia is a strategic partner of Greece"
30. April 2010. | 07:51 09:39
Source: EMGportal, Tanjug
The two prime ministers underlined Greece's leading role on Balkan issues in the EU, with its 'Agenda 2014' initiative that calls for the accession of western Balkan states into Europe by that year provided they meet the terms and conditions of EU entry, including that of good neighbour relations."Serbia is a strategic partner of Greece," Papandreou noted, stressing the country's important role for peace and prosperity in the region.
Serbian and Greek Prime Ministers Mirko Cvetkovic and George Papandreou supported Thursday the 2014 Agenda for the integration of Western Balkan states in the European Union.
They also noted that Serbia's place is in the European family of nations.
Greece put forward earlier the idea that all Western Balkan states should be integrated in the European Union by 2014 and called this idea the 2014 Agenda.
At a joint press conference, Cvetkovic and Papandreou described the relations between Serbia and Greece as very good and based on the historic friendship between the two peoples.
Bilateral relations and Serbia's European prospects were the two main issues that Prime Minister George Papandreou discussed in Athens on Thursday with his visiting Serb counterpart Mirko Cvetkovic.
"Greece has steadfastly supported [Serbia's European prospects] from the first moment," Papandreou said after the meeting, adding that "Serbia must be made a member of the European family, a place that rightfully belongs to it, as soon as possible".
An important step in this direction was the move to grant Serbs visa-free travel to the EU, which was strongly supported by Greece, and the Serbian Parliament's apology for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which Papandreou described as "brave".
They also spoke about economic cooperation issues, with special emphasis on tourism during the upcoming summer months.
"The long friendship of the two peoples is reflected in the frequent high-level visits but also in the great number of Serb citizens that visit our country each year for their holidays," Papandreou said.
The two prime ministers underlined Greece's leading role on Balkan issues in the EU, with its 'Agenda 2014' initiative that calls for the accession of western Balkan states into Europe by that year provided they meet the terms and conditions of EU entry, including that of good neighbour relations.
"Serbia is a strategic partner of Greece," Papandreou noted, stressing the country's important role for peace and prosperity in the region.
Papandreou and Cvetkovic referred to developments in Kosovo, which the Greek side is following closely. The Greek premier said that Athens gives priority in the region to stability, growth, improving living standards, respect for human rights and respect for monuments and cultural heritage.
"Our participation in Eulex, KFOR and the appointment of the head of the Liaison Office in Pristina, who is also mediator for the protection of the religious and cultural heritage of the Serb Orthodox Church in Kosovo, proves our active dedication," he added.
Cvetkovic referred to the intense talks between Serbia and other Balkan countries on regional cooperation aiming at European integration, while thanking Greece for its support on the issue of Kosovo.
Serbia should as soon as possible become a member of the European family of nations, as this is its rightful place, Papandreou said.
Serbia is Greece's strategic partner and can play an essential role in Western Balkans, he said.
Greece supports Serbia's European perspective and consequently commends the resolution on Srebrenica adopted recently by the Serbian parliament, as it will help improve relations in the whole region, Papandreou said.
2014 will be the crucial year for the integration of all Western Balkan states in the EU, provided that they meet the necessary pre-conditions and maintain good-neighborly relations, he emphasized.
As regards the situation in Kosovo, Papandreou pointed to the need for protection of human rights and cultural heritage there.
Protection of Serb Orthodox monasteries in Serbia's southern province is one of the goals set by Greece, Papandreou noted.
Cvetkovic described his meeting with Papandreou as a talk between friends, and pointed to the long historic tradition between Serbs and Greeks.
Serbia supports the 2014 Agenda as its place, as well as that of all Western Balkan states, is in the European Union, Cvetkovic said.
He thanked Greece for its principled support to Serbia's endeavors against the unilateral declaration of Kosovo's independence.
Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic met also with Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and thanked him for his country’s support in Serbia’s path to the EU and the struggle to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity in Kosovo-Metohija.
Cvetkovic especially emphasised Cyprus’ active contribution in the process to establish the legality of the province’s unilaterally declared independence at the international Court of justice.
They agreed that Serbia and Cyprus are interested in improving their economic cooperation, increasing investment and further developing their outstanding bilateral relations, based on the traditional friendship and closeness between their countries.