Serbia's New Government Makes Energy Infrastructure Top Priority

BELGRADE (Reuters) - The Serbian parliament appointed a new government on Wednesday whose main priorities will be investment in energy infrastructure and membership in the European Union.

The new Cabinet will be led by Ana Brnabic who also served as the prime minister in the previous two terms.

Brnabic in her address to the parliament on Wednesday said the government plans to invest 12 billion euros ($12.1 billion) in energy projects, including oil and gas pipelines and increased power production capacity. 

She also said that European Union was the country's "strategic destination".

If it wants to join the EU, Serbia which is an EU candidate country must normalize ties with Kosovo, its former southern province, which declared independence in 2008, and harmonize its foreign policy with the bloc.

Serbia has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations, but has refused to join sanctions against Moscow even though EU officials have called on Serbia to do so.

Serbia’s newly appointed government will have 28 ministers, mainly from the ruling conservative Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and its ally the Socialists (SPS).

One hundred fifty-seven deputies in the 250-seat parliament voted for the government. Opposition deputies who voted against the new Cabinet said in a debate that the government is too big and expensive.

($1 = 0.9918 euro)

(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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