On 16 April, the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius and the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivan Mrkić signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of European integration on behalf of the Governments, which, according to Linkevičius, should further the mutually beneficial cooperation.
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister noted that the two countries enjoyed the political dialogue that was intensifying and called on Serbia to make more productive use of the potential of the cooperation, and to strengthen business connections.
At the meeting, the Foreign Minister discussed Lithuania’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU, the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and Serbia’s progress towards meeting the criteria for EU accession.
When speaking about the EU enlargement, Linkevičius pointed out that the assessment of the progress of candidate countries should be performed on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the irreversible progress in meeting the requirements for accession to the EU.
“Lithuania supports the EU’s enlargement policy and Lithuania’s Presidency of the EU Council will focus on implementing the EU’s enlargement strategy,” Linkevičius said.
The Foreign Minister also reaffirmed Lithuania’s support of Serbia’s integration into the EU and welcomed the efforts of the Serbian Government to meet the criteria for EU accession, and to achieve progress in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
“Lithuania believes in willingness on both sides to reach a consensus on northern Kosovo. However, first of all, it is necessary to continue implementing the agreements between Belgrade and Pristina and reforms, necessary to meet the political criteria for membership of the EU: the rule of law, fighting corruption, enhancing business environment, freedom of the press, the protection of national minorities and integration,” the head of the Lithuanian diplomacy stated.
Mrkić came to Lithuania together with the Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić. The Serbian delegation also met with the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, the Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, the Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament) Vydas Gedvilas, the Chair of the Committee on European Affairs Gediminas Kirkilas, the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Benediktas Juodka, and the Minister of the Interior Dailis Alfonsas Barakauskas.