BELGRADE – The agreement in the field of higher education under which the Roman Catholic Church can establish and run schools in Serbia is a sign of good cooperation between the country and the Holy See, Stanislav Hocevar, the Roman Catholic archbishop of the Archdiocese of Belgrade, said on Monday.

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Last December, the Serbian parliament adopted a law enabling the implementation of the agreement between Serbia and the Vatican on cooperation in higher education.

The agreement was signed in July 2014 by Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, who is also foreign minister, and the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Cardinal (then archbishop) Dominique Mamberti.

In an interview with Tanjug, Archbishop Hocevar said that the agreement is a sign of good cooperation between Serbia and the Holy See and the possibility of its progress.

The agreement is important not only because it allows the Roman Catholic Church to establish and run higher education institutions for ecclesiastical needs, but also because it recognises academic titles acquired in other countries, he said.

The establishment of Roman Catholic schools will not start immediately, but once all by-laws have been adopted, Archbishop Hocevar said.

Within the framework of their existing regulations, the two sides will encourage the development of cooperation and direct contacts between reference higher education institutions, he noted.

Under the agreement, the two sides are bound to define specific activities through individual agreements on cooperation in higher education, as well as organisational and financial requirements for their implementation.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, adopted in Lisbon on April 11, 1997 and efforts towards the Bologna process, the agreement envisions mutual recognition of titles and public documents of higher education.