On Thursday 10 November the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, visited Belgrade. During his visit, he met the Serbian Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Speaker of Parliament, NGOs, Journalists, British Council and British businesses. On Friday 11 November he laid a wreath at a Remembrance event with the Serbian Prime Minister.
The Foreign Secretary and the Serbian Prime Minister spoke to the media ahead of their meeting. The Foreign Secretary’s remarks included the following comments:
Prime Minister, it is fantastic to see how this city has changed and how this country has changed and the progress that Serbia has made under this Government. I congratulate you and your government for what you are doing to help to bring that about, the economic success that you are having and the political progress that is being made.
I am grateful for what you’ve said just now and for the leadership that you are showing. Normalising relations with Kosovo is extremely important for all of us. And of course supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina, and showing leadership there too.
I want to follow up on what you’ve just said about the position of the UK in Europe. Because whilst it is perfectly true that we are leaving the treaties of the EU, we are emphatically not leaving Europe, my friends. We remain committed to our relationship with Serbia and of course to championing Serbia’s European vocation, which I strongly support.
We will remain friends of Serbia and I am very grateful for what you said, Prime Minister, about the need to intensify our relationship at all levels. We have a growing commercial relationship, about £420m a year now in both ways. It’s growing the whole time. I know a lot of investors just now from the UK, who are very excited about the prospects of Serbia.
I’ve just had a very interesting exchange with your Interior Minister about the work we are doing together to tackle organised crime, to counter terrorism, sharing our expertise on justice and home affairs, tackling migration; the problems that affect us both, across the whole European continent.
I am very grateful for the role Serbia is playing, very much on the front line.