Monday, 16 September 2013. PDF Print E-mail
Belgrade will continue to enjoy Finland's full support on its path to the EU
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Mrkic - TuomiojaThe Foreign Ministers of Serbia and Finland, Ivan Mrkic and Erkki Tuomioja respectively, agreed today that there was not a single problem in their bilateral relations, announced an agreement on protection and promotion of investments and confirmed that Belgrade would continue to enjoy Finland's strong support on its EU integration path.

At a joint press conference, Mrkic underlined that Finland had always strongly backed Serbia's EU aspirations, which was demonstrated in particular on 28 June when important decisions were made regarding our country.

"Finland has always been in favor of EU enlargement and we appreciate that," Mrkic said. Mrkic noted that the two countries were not satisfied with the volume of trade between them, adding that it could be higher.

On the other hand, Mrkic noted that there were around 60 companies from Finland that were doing business in Serbia, with all indicators suggesting that their number would increase.

He announced that an Agreement on investment protection and promotion would soon be reached.

Mrkic added that he informed his colleague about the proceedings of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, especially preparations for local elections in Kosovo-Metohija to be held on 3 November.

Responding to a reporter's question on Serbia's role in the region, Mrkic stressed that Serbia had done everything in its power to improve these relations.
"I think that Serbia's relations with neighbors have never been better," Mrkic said.

The Finnish Minister praised the developments in Serbia, especially in relation to its path towards the EU.

"Finland has always backed the EU enlargement, and in that context Serbia too. We expect that Serbia's EU membership talks will begin in late 2013," he said.

Asked whether there is a chance of Serbia becoming an EU member state by 2020, he said that he had nothing against it, but that it would depend primarily on the concrete work concerning chapters and harmonization of Serbian laws with the EU acquis.

Tuomioja said that Finland was ready to offer Serbia assistance and share its experiences when Serbia officially opened membership negotiations with the EU.

As he said, there were no bilateral problems, but trade and investment issues were those that could always be improved.

"Finally, I congratulate the Serbian leadership on the efforts made in the past year to normalize relations with its neighbors, and opening the path to the EU," Tuomioja concluded.

Mrkic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland

Meeting between Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic and Tuomioja