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19.07.2019. - 11:52

Joint Statement of the Republic of France and the Republic of Serbia

On the occasion of the visit of the President of the Republic of France to the Republic of Serbia, Presidents Aleksandar Vučić and Emmanuel Macron adopted a joint statement which reads:

JOINT STATEMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF FRANCE AND
THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
 
(Belgrade, 16th July 2019)
 
1- At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Serbia Mr Aleksandar VUČIĆ, the President of the Republic of France Mr Emmanuel MACRON came to the official visit to Serbia on the 15th and the 16th of July 2019.
 
2- On that occasion, the two statesmen confirmed the joint commitment to the democratic values and human rights, rule of law and multilateralism, and expressed the joint willingness to contribute to the peace, prosperity and stability in Europe and the world.
 
3- The two statesmen emphasised that accession of Serbia to the previously deeply reformed European Union (EU) represents a common strategic objective. In addition to the necessary economic reforms where Serbia displays significant progress, the two statesmen pointed out the need for greater efforts to be invested in the areas of the rule of law, basic rights, strengthening of democratic institutions and public administration reforms. They agreed that bilateral discords should also be solved through bilateral negotiations, following the international law and in good faith. They expressed a desire for a fast settling of conditions aimed at restoration of dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, to achieve a mutually acceptable EU-facilitated solution.
 
4- On the occasion of marking the 180th anniversary as of the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Serbia, the two statesmen agreed to continue with the full implementation of the “Agreement on Strategic Partnership And Cooperation”, signed by the Government of the Republic of France and the Government of the Republic of Serbia on the 8th April 2011.
 
To that end, they decided to continue the political dialogue at the high level, to strengthen the cooperation in the areas of security and defence, to promote cultural exchange and Francophonie, to work together on the integration of Serbia into the European Union, and to develop the economic exchange especially in the field of innovations.
 
 
I. Continuation of the political dialogue at the high level
 
The visit of the President of the Republic of France to Serbia, a year after the visit of the President of the Republic of Serbia to France, affirms the joint willingness of the two countries to intensify the political dialogue at a high level and to furnish a new encouragement to the bilateral relations.
 
The restored Monument of Gratitude to France, ceremonially uncovered by the two statesmen, illustrates the common desire of both countries to mark the particularity and depth of historical ties on which grounds the future relations will be based.
 
The two statesmen strive towards the significant development of mutual Ministerial-level visits in the coming months as well as of the parliamentary relations and territorial partnerships between cities and other local self-governments.
 
 
II. Strengthening of cooperation in the areas of security and defence
 
France and Serbia emphasise their good cooperation in the fight against organised crime and smuggling of light and small-calibre weapons, which reflects in the establishment of the permanent Unit for criminal-intelligence affairs, and decided to strengthen the operational cooperation in these areas as well as in the fight against terrorism, in prevention of radicalisation, protection of borders, fight against financial and economic crimes, drug trafficking, human trafficking, cyber-crime and forgery.
 
Within the scope of the fight against terrorism and prevention of radicalisation, France and Serbia will consider cooperation in the establishment of platforms for declaring illegal content on the internet according to the model of the French platform PHAROS (Platform for Harmonization, Analysis, Cross-referencing and Signal Orientation).
 
Both statesmen insist on the contribution of both countries in the area of international security and express their desire – on the grounds of the brotherhood in arms arising from World War 1 and within the obligations contained in the Agreement on Strategic Partnership and Cooperation signed in 2011 – to strengthen their joint participation in external operations and missions of the European Union and the Organisation of the United Nations. They agree to strengthen the political-strategic dialogue, the ties in the fields of defence – in particular in the domain of training – as well as the cooperation in the areas of armament, including the partnerships between the two defence industries as well.
 
III. Promotion of cultural exchanges and Francophonie
 
Both statesmen welcome the fact that Serbia acquired the status of the associate member in the International Organisation of the Francophonie and affirm their willingness to consolidate the position of the French language in the educational system of Serbia by preserving the French as the second living foreign language studied in schools, and through the support provided to bilingual Francophone classes in higher grades of primary schools and in grammar high schools, and by encouragement for studying of the French language as one of the official languages in the European Union, as well as in the Serbian administration.
 
France and Serbia agreed to work together to transform the French School in Belgrade into a grammar high school of excellence with international dimensions, which should become a referential French institution in the region. Both states will closely cooperate so that the School moves to a more spacious and better-adapted facility as soon as possible. 
 
In addition, both sides undertake to support the realisation of pedagogical and educational work with respect to the Serbian language in France.
 
The two statesmen also support the development and diversification of partnerships in the areas of culture, pre-university education and science, as well as the development of bilateral cooperation aimed at preservation of cultural heritage comprising the cultural and historical heritage of the two countries and their identities.
 
They also undertake to develop and facilitate the activities of the French Institute in Serbia (Belgrade, Niš, Novi Sad), which serve as the cultural and educational operator of the Embassy of France in Serbia, as well as of the Serbian Cultural Centre in France (seated in Paris).
 
 
IV. Support to the integration of Serbia into the European Union
 
France will continue with its support to Serbia on its path of accession to the European Union. In that respect, the two statesmen also acknowledge the obligations accepted by the EU and the Western Balkans partners at the summit held in Sofia on the 17th May 2018, aimed at strengthening and increase of the EU activities in terms of support to political, economic and social transformations of the Western Balkans, including a more notable assistance based on the visible progress in the areas of the rule of law and social-economic reforms.
 
France is also ready to provide Serbia with the technical expertise in the fields of reforms of the public administration, economic management, environment, agriculture and transportation as well as in any other area for which Serbia would express its interest. This support is already being implemented through the institutional cooperation and engagement of the French expert in the field of economic reforms in the Serbian Ministry for European Integrations.
 
Both sides attribute particular importance to the programme of economic reforms and the annual dialogue with the Economic and Financial Affairs Council of the European Union (Ecofin), which represent useful instruments to improve the institutional administration and economic convergence of Serbia on its path to the European Union.
 
France will maintain its support to Serbia in its approximation to the European Union in the context of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
 
France and Serbia emphasise the importance of acceleration of energy transition and environment preservation in both countries aimed at the implementation of obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. France will seek to promote in Serbia the inclusive approach connecting the state, local self-government and civil society in the wider sense (enterprises, non-governmental organisations, unions and economy chambers, scientific societies) according to the so-called Talanoa model.
 
France and Serbia underline the significance for the European Union to promote sustainable connecting based on the quality-driven infrastructural projects in Serbia and in the Western Balkans. France intends to play a more important role in funding of infrastructural projects within the scope of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) and with the support of the French Development Agency which will commence with its activities in Serbia this year by opening a regional office in Belgrade.
 
France and Serbia will strive to promote the European cultural space, to promote equality between women and men, and to support the fight against all types of discrimination through creation of partnerships between the state administration and civil societies. Both states will maintain regional cooperation focused on young people and on reconciliation through a long-term support to the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), The two statesmen express their satisfaction at initiation of the WB6 Lab project, supported by the French Development Agency and intended for promotion of social and solidarity entrepreneurship model for young entrepreneurs of the Western Balkans.
 
France will support better integration of Serbia in the European area of high education and research activities through diversification of university partnerships and scientific mobility performed through the European programmes ERASMUS+ and Horizon 2020, and with the support of the Francophone University Agency (AUF).
 
In addition, both sides will continue with the implementation of the „ Hubert Curien – Pavle Savić Partnership", the bilateral programme for implementation of the French-Serbian research projects through prioritising the research projects in the fields of fight against climate changes and gender issues.
 
 
V. Strengthening of economic relations
 
Both states are pleased with the dynamic trading exchanges and undertake to develop them additionally by presenting the opportunities in the Serbian market in France and by strengthening the cooperation in agricultural and agri-foodstuffs sectors.
 
Both statesmen encourage the French companies to position themselves in large infrastructural projects in Serbia, especially in the fields of transportation, environment, sustainable cities and energy, considering significant needs for investments in this domain. Cooperation will be facilitated in the energy sector between the companies of the two countries, in particular aimed at the electrical power supply network modernisation. 
 
Both statesmen affirm their willingness to continue with the Belgrade metro construction project and undertake to continue the cooperation on the technical and financial planes, as the cooperation commenced years ago. They express their readiness to include French companies in the construction and equipment of the Belgrade metro following the agreements which Serbia had already signed.  Finally, the chiefs of state agreed to continue with the talks on signing of the inter-governmental agreement on the funding of the French part of the metro.
 
Both states will facilitate the funding of infrastructural projects by – whenever so required – mobilising the instruments of the French Development Agency in line with its competences and rules of business operations.
 
France and Serbia will continue to provide support in the best manner to the French companies in implementation of large projects recently assigned to them in Serbia (waste management in Vinča/Suez and Belgrade airport/Vinci airports), stressing that the success of these projects will be a drive for the presence of the French economy in Serbia.
 
Both states will continue with their respective exchanges on public policies aimed at development of innovations and digital economy, especially in the fields of improvement of the legal framework for the development of digital sector and safety of information systems, policy of support to innovations (competitive groups, support to small and medium-sized enterprises and start-up companies), promotions of partnerships between enterprises, encouragement of talent exchange programmes and informatics teaching programmes.
 
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