MPs with President of National Assembly, Belgrade
There were 4 MPs present on the visit: Conservative MPs Karen Lumley and Stuart Andrew and Labour MPs Gemma Doyle and Clive Betts. Also present was Lucy Lermer, Office Manager to Karen Lumley.
This was an APPG visit to meet with politicians and others to learn more about the Serbian Parliament and economy.
We had a packed three day trip including meeting the Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, the Speaker of the Parliament, Chairman of the UK – Serbian Friendship Group and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, to name but a few.
There were wide ranging conversations as to how to improve Serbian/British relations and future co-operation between our countries. We also learned of the concerns and problems the country was facing. The main issue we talked about was the situation in Kosovo and how the succession to the European Union was progressing. All but one political party were in favour of the succession and were hoping for a positive decision in the near future.
Discussions were also held over the state of the economy and job creation with all of the mainstream parties. The problems being faced in Serbia in some way mirrored ours and we were able to have a frank and open discussion about what needed to be done.
Other meetings included businesses such as G4S and Mace, two large companies working in Serbia, who were able to explain to us how business operates and the concerns they have.
We also met with Danas who is the only independent press outlet in Belgrade who interviewed all of us in their Belgrade offices. We appeared in their paper with pictures to promote international relations.
As usual we had great co-operation from the British Embassy and in particular I would like to highlight the help received from Dusan Mihajilovic who helped prepare our visit and accompanied us throughout.
It was a great and fascinating visit and we hope to continue lasting friendship and co-operation with our colleagues across all parties in Serbia over the next couple of years.