Selakovic in the Netherlands: Serbia has done a lot in the field of reforms, we expect that to be valued

29. Nov 2021.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic met today in The Hague with Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Knapen, with whom he discussed Serbia's European path, the "Open Balkan" initiative, the situation in the region, as well as deepening political and economic cooperation.

After the meeting, Minister Selakovic said that the significance of his visit to the Netherlands was multiple, considering not only that 14 years had passed since the last visit by a Serbian Foreign Minister to The Hague, but also the fact that 2021 was the year in which we marked 130 years of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Serbia.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy said that a lot had changed in those 130 years of our relations, and that he had discussed many issues of common interest with his Dutch counterpart at a meeting that lasted an hour and 40 minutes.

"We touched upon Serbia's European path, progress in the negotiation process. Of course, I presented in that context what Serbia has done so far in the field of economic reforms and reforms in the field of the rule of law, strengthening the state of law, which is evidenced by the number and volume of investments coming to Serbia. These investments would not be arriving to a country that is insecure, and if a stable and predictable legal system was not in place there", Minister Selakovic said.

The Serbian Foreign Minister emphasized that our side expressed the expectation that what we had done so far would be evaluated in an appropriate way, and that we were convinced that we had done a lot.

According to the Minister, the Dutch vote was not always on our side along the European integration path.

“They tended to always be recognized as someone who is strict, but principled, what they think of you, they tell you, and you have to handle it and deal with it. We noted that it is not normal that, in the case of two countries that have fostered cooperation for 130 years, 14 years have passed since the last visit by a Serbian Foreign Minister to the Netherlands. Our business communities have significantly surpassed this cooperation, as the cooperation is more intensive in their case, but there is a lot of room for its deepening”, Minister Selakovic said.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy stated that the Netherlands was especially interested in the situation in our region, that Serbia’s stance was important to them as well as its positioning concerning all the challenges that the region was facing.

“The Dutch support to the 'Open Balkan' initiative is a great encouragement for us. That was a special topic at the meeting”, Minister Selakovic said adding that this initiative of President Aleksandar Vucic, joined by Albania and North Macedonia, was being met with significant support.

Minister Selakovic said that the Netherlands was nominally the largest investor in the Serbian economy from 2010 to 2020, that Dutch companies had invested 8.5 billion euros in that period, and that at the moment Dutch companies in Serbia employed more than 17,000 workers.