If Serbia does not want to join the EU and instead prefers to maintain its relations with Russia, the EU should not force it, Viola von Cramon, MEP and European Parliament rapporteur on Kosovo, said in an interview with Euractiv, also addressing the issue of Albanians in south Serbia for the passivation of addresses, reports The Geopost.
“If Serbia does not want to join the EU, we should not force it. Maybe they want to wait and watch how all other Western Balkan countries join the EU. It is their decision,” von Cramon said. Von Cramon also stressed the aid that the European Union is giving to Serbia. “But to push it strongly and make them attractive offers why then Serbia have a greater interest in cooperating with Russia?” she said. The MEP used Serbia’s relations with Kosovo as a basis to prove that Serbia is not a suitable country for cooperation in the EU.
“But when it comes to Kosovo, I think now is the time to overcome this very, very aggressive old rhetoric, this terrible nationalistic approach.” “We cannot work with that in the European Union, we cannot accept a country that still lives in the past and still lives with these old narratives,” she said. Von Cramon said she had previously believed Serbia was interested in joining the EU and becoming an active player in the accession process, but recent events, including the deterioration of relations with Kosovo, have cast doubt on that.
“But we have to see and acknowledge that the last month has not moved in that direction.” And after a while, maybe we should take a break,” she said. Von Cramon also referred to the way Serbia deals with journalists, the media, the rule of law and other issues. The MEP added, however, that there should be more criticism of Serbia, especially in relation to the EU. Members of the European Parliament have repeatedly called for Serbia to join the West and leave Russia in foreign policy. But Serbia has ignored these calls and in the current geopolitical situation has further intensified its relations with Russia, without imposing sanctions against it, as Western countries have done.
In the report on Serbia, MEPs say that accession negotiations with Belgrade should only go ahead if the country complies with EU sanctions against Russia and makes significant progress on EU-related reforms.
MEPs stressed the importance of harmonization with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, especially in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The European Parliament is concerned about the recent decline in public support for EU membership in Serbia, which it sees as a result of longstanding anti-European/Pro-russian political rhetoric spread by state-controlled media and government officials. According to the report, this was the result of a major failure by government officials to address and come to terms with Serbia’s past. MEPs want the EU to reconsider the level of its financial assistance to Serbia if anti-democratic policies continue to be supported, and call on the European Commission to ensure that all EU spending is fully in line with the EU’s strategic objectives and interests./The Geopost/