Vienna, 17 March 2014 Press release

Kurz: "Congratulations on the convincing electoral victory of Aleksandar Vucic"

Clear call to continue EU approach and reconciliation with all neighbours

Vienna, 17 March 2014 – Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz congratulated the president of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), Aleksandar Vucic, on his convincing victory in the parliamentary elections in Serbia on Sunday: "I see this victory as an unmistakable call of the Serbian people to push ahead with the country's EU rapprochement course pursued by the Serbian Progressive Party. With their vote, the citizens expressed their approval of the role of a stabilising factor that Serbia has been playing in the region for some years and that is geared towards friendly relationships with all neighbours."

Foreign Minister Kurz emphasised that Austria will continue to support Serbia's outreach to the EU by conviction. "Serbia's integration process is in the interest of the EU and the entire Western Balkans region." At the same time, the Foreign Minister underlined that the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo should now be continued with renewed energy on both sides. The results achieved so far are encouraging and appropriate, he said, but there is still much to be done.

The Foreign Minister is pleased that representatives of the three minority parties continue to be represented in parliament. This is made possible by the Serbian Constitution that provides a preferential position for minority representatives in the allocation of parliamentary seats. "The protection of minority rights is one of the pillars of the EU. The fact that elections went smoothly is another encouraging sign of rapprochement to the EU", Kurz said.

It is now essential that the economic reforms announced by the future Prime Minister are quickly implemented, as they will benefit the people of Serbia and boost the urgently needed investments in the country. "Austria is the biggest foreign investor in Serbia, and a modernisation and reform of the economy will open up opportunities for further Austrian investment in Serbia. This situation will bring benefits for both sides", Kurz concluded.

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