The Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, paid a visit to Serbia at the end of July, which was the first visit of any Spanish prime minister to Serbia in more than a hundred years of diplomatic relations
The outgoing government of Serbia welcomed Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at the end of July. This visit was declared historic not only because it was the first of its kind in recent history but also confirmed the strong friendship between the two nations.
Ambassador of Serbia to Spain Katarina Lalić stated that the relations between Serbia and Spain were on the rise and that the political dialogue had intensified, which, she added, was best illustrated by the fact that there had been 11 high-level visits since May last year, which were rounded off by the visit of President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić to Spain in February this year, at the invitation of King Felipe VI.
Bilateral relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Spain are excellent. Officials in both countries rate them as friendly and privileged. The 100th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Serbia and Spain was celebrated five years ago. But, still, there has not been any official visit of any Spanish officials to Serbia since 2012. Also, this is the first visit of any Spanish prime minister to Serbia in more than a hundred years of diplomatic relations. King Felipe VI of Spain has been invited to visit Serbia.
The primary cause for this visit was the deepening of economic cooperation between the two countries. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić announced the Serbian – Spanish business summit this autumn.
Serbia and Spain are committed to strengthening economic cooperation, which has a lot of potentials. Trade has been growing steadily in recent years. Serbian national airline, Air Serbia, established many new routes connecting Belgrade with Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Palma de Mallorca, which is important not only for passengers and tourists but also for the economy – creating new potential in cargo operations.
In 2021, the overall trade exchange of goods had reached 811,4 million euros, with an increase of 36,8 per cent, primarily because of the growth of exports from Serbia which reached 351,1 million euros. Spain is interested in investing in Serbia, mainly in renewable energy sources, transport infrastructure, agro-industry, energy, and environmental protection as the most attractive sectors. There’s a huge potential for increasing exports of rubber, wood, furniture and food (frozen and canned fruits) to the Spanish market.
“We think it is a unilateral declaration of independence, and we think that international law has been violated, so we cannot accept it”
Serbian hosts emphasise that Spain will support the European integration process in Serbia. Sánchez said his tour confirms that Serbia and the rest of the Western Balkans “belonged in Europe.”
At the same time, it is one of the only five members of the European Union that doesn’t recognise Kosovo as an independent state. Serbia was the first stop for Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez, who made a West Balkan tour kicked off from Belgrade and continued to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania later on.
Serbian media followed that tour with special attention, especially when Sánchez was in Tirana. His words about Kosovo in the Albanian capital were received with great admiration.
“We think that it is a unilateral declaration of independence, and we think that international law has been violated, so we cannot accept it”, said Sánchez at the joint press conference with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.