Moratinos: Spain supports Serbia

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said that Spain is ready to continue to offer help to Serbia on its path to European integration.

“Spain will invest all possible efforts to speed up Serbia’s European Union association,” Moratinos said after meeting with his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremić on Wednesday in Belgrade.

Jeremić said that relations between Serbia and Spain in regards to EU enlargement to the Western Balkans have been “all-encompassing and fruitful”.

“A full readiness of Spain exists to support Serbia and the countries of the Western Balkans to take further steps towards the EU while Spain has the presidency,” Jeremić said, adding that there are no open questions between Serbia and Spain, but rather, “there is complete agreement on all the most important issues.”

Moratinos told reporters that he hoped there would be progress made before Spain’s EU presidency ends in June and that there would be “good news for the Serbian society”.

The Spanish minister also stated that he was content with the recent steps taken by the Serbian government, including the adoption of the declaration condemning the crimes in Srebrenica and the support of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s EU integration, which was “echoed loudly” in the EU.

He added that the regional policy of “good neighborly relations” which Belgrade has been conducting were also receiving a positive reaction from the Union.

Moratinos said that the Spanish EU presidency is convinced that the ministerial conference in June in Sarajevo will be successful, while Jeremić said that he agreed with Moratinos that the conference needs to breathe new life into regional cooperation and the EU integration process of the Western Balkans.

“The Spanish EU presidency is convinced that the conference in Sarajevo will be a complete success and that Sarajevo will be a significant crossroad in terms of European engagement in the Western Balkans,” Moratinos said.

He said that “the position of every country are known, they will not change, but we need to invest maximum efforts in order to achieve good regional cooperation.”

Jeremić said that “Serbia will do everything it can for the conference to be a big success.”

He repeated Belgrade’s stance on the participation of Kosovo Albanian officials, and said there would be no changes to that position.

“We believe that Priština’s voice should be heard in international organizations of a regional character, in which its voice was heard before the unilateral independence proclamation, but the participation of Priština must be in accordance with international law, and fully respect UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and in a way in which they do not imply that there has been a change in the status of our southern province,” Jeremić said.

Speaking about relations between Serbia and Spain, Moratinos said that political, economic, cultural and trade ties were constantly improving.

“The clouds of ash hovering over our countries will not stop travelers from Serbia and Spain to travel in both directions,” Moratinos said, reminding that direct flights were reestablished between Serbia and Spain, and that the EU has abolished visas for Serbian citizens.

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