PM Ponta: Romania will not hinder Serbia’s EU path


Romania will take no action to hinder Serbia’s European path and as concerns the issue of minorities, Romania does not request more than it offers, Prime Minister Victor Ponta told a joint press conference with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic on Thursday, Agerpres informs. PM Ponta was paying a two-day official visit to the Republic of Serbia on July 16-17, and had official talks with the Serbian Prime Minister on Thursday in Belgrade.
‘I came to Belgrade with a very clear message on behalf of the Romanian Government. We are and we definitely want to be the most resolute advocate of Serbia during its integration to the European Union. I believe not only Serbia needs the EU, but the EU also needs Serbia. I believe it is in Romania’s interest that Serbia joins the EU as soon as possible. I think that it is in Europe’s interest to actually make an integrated continent,’ the Romanian head of government said. Ponta assured ‘that Romania will never take any action to hinder the European path of Serbia, on the contrary, we will be your best friends and supporters,’ Ponta underscored.
On his part, Aleksandar Vucic gave assurances that the Belgrade Government will make all demarches to enforce the planned measures resulting from the negotiations held under the joint commission for minorities.
‘The Joint Commission has already reached conclusions and there are the three points. I promised Prime Minister Ponta that as regards the two points we shall do everything in our power to fulfill the commitments on education and media, targeting the European future of the region,’ the Serbian Prime Minister argued.
PM Victor Ponta also said he feels very good as a prime minister, and regardless of the public position he will hold as of November, he will remain a big advocate of Serbia’s integration and of the other states in the region aspiring to join the EU.
When asked by journalists during a joint press conference with his Serbian counterpart Aleksander Vucic whether he will run in this November’s presidential elections, Ponta said: ‘I feel very good as a prime minister in the company of Mr. Vucic, but we will remain friends even if I become president. (…) So, regardless of the public position I will hold in Romania, I will remain a big advocate of Serbia, Moldova, Georgia, of other countries (…) Romania has been on this road, it was a very difficult path (…) but it was worth it. I think for the Serbian people the European way is the right one.’
Joint infrastructure projects, such as Timisoara-Belgrade freeway
Romania will offer all the possible support so that the Serbian administrative apparatus can learn as fast as possible European procedures, however it is more important that the two neighbouring countries develop as quickly as possible joint infrastructure projects, such as the development of a freeway or highway between Timisoara and Belgrade, said Prime Minister Victor Ponta. ‘(…) Together we can develop such infrastructure projects, that have not been done between Romania and Serbia, I believe, for 70 or 50 years. Together we have the same vision that without infrastructure you cannot have economic development and Serbia can look towards Romania, eastwardly, when it speaks of interests and economic projects’, said the Romanian PM. Ponta also brought up the joint energy projects developed by the two neighbouring countries.
Support for Romanian language
In the second part of the day, Victor Ponta, Foreign Affairs Minister Titus Corlatean, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and the Serbian PM visited Bor Lake in Serbia; they met ethnic Romanian leaders of the historic regions of Timoc, Morava, and south of Danube River. ‘(…) I believe that all minorities are part of the country where they live, they are citizens of Serbia, as the minorities in Romania are citizens of Romania and that through dialogue, openness, we can provide a peaceful life, of common development to the citizens of both countries,’ Victor Ponta declared.
‘We will take this opportunity to repeat our plea for support to our projects of introducing Romanian language in school and building churches,’ Human Rights Committee of Negotin director Dusan Prvulovici told in his turn. He pointed out within the context that the Romanian leaders in Serbia will ask the high officials to intervene at the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Department of Policies for the Relations with Romanians Everywhere to promote realistic programmes of aid for Romanian culture and values in Serbia.

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