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Serbia and Greece to sign an agreement on abolition of roaming charges

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met today in Athens, on the eve of the Delphi Economic Forum, with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the President of that country, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

After the meeting with Sakellaropoulou, Brnabic expressed gratitude for Greece's support to Serbia's European path and for advocating the process of EU enlargement.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the support of Greece meant a lot to Serbia, because European integration was an important precondition for long-term stability.

On that occasion, she congratulated on an anniversary celebrated by Greece, since this year marks 200 years since the war of liberation from the Ottoman rule in 1821.

The Prime Minister conveyed the greetings of President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic to Sakellaropoulou and congratulated her on being the first woman president of Greece in history.

As the Prime Minister of Serbia I am always happy when I have meetings here about joint projects, because Greece is one of Serbia's biggest partners, politically and economically, and the two nations are tied by brotherly feelings, Brnabic emphasized.

Sakellaropoulou expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister of Serbia for participating in the celebration of the great anniversary, which, as she pointed out, showed the exceptional relations between the countries and the historical ties of our peoples.

She expressed confidence that after the pandemic, the relations between the two countries would strengthen and develop even more, noting that Greece was interested in developing strategic relations with Serbia in all sectors.

According to her, the perspective of further expansion of the EU to the Western Balkans was of essential importance, and since the Summit in Thessaloniki in 2003, that had been a strategic goal of Greece.

The Greek President emphasized that this was the only way for security, stability and development of the region, noting that this country supported Serbia's European perspective and that it would help in everything it could.

After the meetings with the state leadership of Greece, Brnabic announced that Serbia and Greece would sign an agreement on the abolition of roaming charges next week.

We have negotiated a roaming agreement with Greece, according to which our citizens who come to Greece will no longer pay the roaming tariff abroad, but it will be like a local call and SMS instead, the Serbian Prime Minister explained.

She stated that Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Tatjana Matic would come to Athens as early as next week to sign the agreement, which will enter into force immediately.

As a government, we have done everything to make it easier for citizens who plan to travel to Greece during the summer, Brnabic pointed out, adding that she thanked the Greek Prime Minister for the unilateral recognition of our digital vaccination certificates by Greece.

According to her, from 14 May, the Greeks will open the Evzoni border crossing, and all vaccinated citizens of Serbia will be able to enter Greece without any problems without any other certificate.

Those who have not been vaccinated will have to have a negative PCR test, Brnabic stated and repeated that the state has done everything in its power to make it easier for citizens to travel to Greece.

The Prime Minister also announced that an agreement was reached at a meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece on holding a meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council between the two countries.

Brnabic announced that the fourth meeting of that body would be organized in June or July, reminding that the Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed at the previous meeting, in December 2019, thus raising the political and economic relations to the level of strategic partnership.

In 2020, we did not have a meeting due to the epidemic-related situation and the crisis caused by the coronavirus. We expect to have the next meeting of the High-Level Council in June or July, which would also be the first visit by Mitsotakis to Serbia, she said.

Speaking about economic relations, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of two projects - high-speed railway and gas connections.

The high-speed railway extends the project we have now, from Budapest to Belgrade, and what we will be doing with the European Union, from Belgrade to Nis and further to North Macedonia, continuing to the port of Piraeus, through Skopje, Thessaloniki, to Athens, she explained.

The Prime Minister said that Serbia had a strategic cooperation with the Chinese company "Cosco", which was the owner of the port of Piraeus and strived to invest as much as possible in railway in that direction, in order to become a central transport line for railway traffic.

According to her, another important project is the gas pipeline from Alexandroupoli, as part of the diversification of our gas interconnections.

Brnabic pointed out that the construction of our gas interconnection to Bulgaria would begin in September or October, and that Greece had already completed 95% of its connection to Bulgaria, estimating that this strategic route would mean additional energy security and stability.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that Greece would continue to stand by Serbia on the issues of Kosovo and Metohija and European integration, emphasizing that she expressed gratitude to the officials of that country for their support, dedicated approach, respect for international law and non-recognition of the unilaterally declared independence of the so-called Kosovo.

She recalled that Greece was one of the countries that provided continuous support to the EU enlargement agenda, giving our country approval for negotiating positions without exception, and that it was one of the countries that "pushed" Serbia the most in that process.

The Prime Minister also said that during the summer or in September at the latest, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic should visit Greece on the occasion of the opening of the consulate in Crete, which was an important, major, but also symbolic matter.

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