Friday, 31 January 2014. PDF Print E-mail
State Secretary Snezana Jankovic’s Interview for “CorD”: “Further improvement of the existing good relations”
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Snezana JankovicJoint sessions between the Governments of Serbia and Slovenia, of which the first one was held in Belgrade in 2013, and the next one is scheduled for 2014 in Ljubljana, provide an opportunity for the improvement of relations between the two countries. Speaking about the importance of these sessions for bilateral relations, State Secretary of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Snezana Jankovic, says that the first joint session between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, held last October, was an opportunity to further deepen the good bilateral relations. "We have reviewed the state of the art in specific areas and possibilities for their further development, and we have signed five interstate agreements. The emphasis was laid on economic issues, so a Memorandum of Understanding concerning economic cooperation in third markets was signed as well. The interest and scope for an improved cooperation with Slovenia also exist in areas such as infrastructure, transport, energy, telecommunications, agriculture and environmental protection. The upcoming second joint session between the two governments will present an opportunity to make a crosscut assessment and see what we have done so far when it comes to the implementation of agreements."

• Apart from the economic sector where Slovenia ranks very high in terms of level of investment in Serbia, what other forms of cooperation between the two countries are important to single out?
- We have maintained good cooperation at the multilateral level and in regional forums. We've established intensive cooperation in the areas of education, science and culture. A Protocol on educational cooperation between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia on the one hand, and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia, on the other hand, was signed during the joint session between the two governments. Universities of Belgrade and Novi Sad have signed cooperation agreements with the University of Ljubljana, while the University of Kragujevac cooperates with the University of Maribor. Numerous cultural events, exhibitions and theatrical visits took place throughout the previous year.

• How has the issue of succession of SFRY been evolving between Serbia and Slovenia and how far has the process gone?
- When it comes to the Succession Agreement and its Annex B, which deals with issues of distribution of diplomatic and consular property, a Letter of Intent was signed at the joint governmental session, on the basis of which the issue of the Ambassador's residence in Rome, one of the outstanding issues between the two countries, was resolved.
Both countries have demonstrated full readiness to cooperate throughout the succession negotiations, and regular and intensive contacts between the two parties speak in favour of it. Both Serbia and Slovenia have approached the issue openly, willing to resolve these issues as soon as possible.

• Serbia and Slovenia also participate together in international projects such as the South Stream gas pipeline. In what manner does the participation in such projects contribute to the enhancement of cooperation between the two countries?
- It is in both countries' interest that the cooperation in the energy sector be enhanced, and the possibilities in this respect are numerous. The Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the energy sector was signed at the governments' joint session between the Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia. Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic's visit to the Republic of Slovenia has also been arranged.
Participation in international projects such as the South Stream project leaves room for the enhancement of economic cooperation between the two countries' companies.

• In what ways has the Slovenian support to Serbia's European integration manifested itself and what is its significance?
- We are thankful to Slovenia for its continued support to Serbia in the process of European integration, and for its active engagement towards EU member states concerning EU enlargement to the West Balkan countries.
Cooperation in the area of European integration has lasted since 2003, when we signed an Agreement on developmental cooperation, which has established a legal basis for cooperation in European integration. Activities of technical and development assistance, implemented through direct cooperation between partnership institutions of the two countries, are taking place. Slovenia has offered its experience and assistance in the European integration process, so bilateral consultations on European integration and regional initiatives between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs, were held in March 2013, in Ljubljana. We expect that the consultations be continued throughout this year as well. We also appreciate the active role Slovenia has played in the process of visa liberalization with EU member states.