Friday, August 17, 2012

Outgoing ambassador: Serbia is different country now

BELGRADE -- Your country is today different than when I first came here, says outgoing German Ambassador Wolfram Maas.
Wolfram Maas (FoNet, file)
Wolfram Maas (FoNet, file)
“The political stability is better and the change of the ruling majority is an evidence of maturity,” he added.
Maas will after five years in Belgrade go to Belarus.

He said he was satisfied with his results in Serbia, stressing that Germany had invested EUR 1.5bn in Serbia during his mandate, which was 50 percent more than earlier.

“Even though we first had an economic crisis and then the debt crisis in the EU, we have had a constant growth in investments. Besides, German business circles see Serbia as an investment destination,” Maas said.

He stressed that the Serbian political scene had developed and that the country’s main priority was further EU integration, adding that a national consensus had been reached on the issue.

When asked whether Priština’s threats that it would stop the negotiations with Belgrade would affect Serbia's EU integration, Maas said that it was an obligation of both Belgrade and Priština to find a reasonable solution.

“The European Council’s conclusions from last December are very clear. Neither side can expect progress in the European agenda without readiness for a dialogue. I am optimistic about the continuation of the dialogue. Frankly, you do not have an alternative. You are neighbors, whether you like it or not and the EU has a strong interest to have a stable and prosperous region and this is possible only if all countries in the region find a way to have normal relations and to cooperate,” the outgoing ambassador stressed.

Commenting on combat against corruption, Maas said that it was necessary since it was costing Serbia a lot.

“Everything that is taken that way is in the end taken from the citizens,” he concluded.

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