“If Serbia wants to make progress toward the European Union (EU) it must make clear choices. If it continues sitting at the back of the train going to the EU, that will clearly have consequences,” said European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia Vladimir Bilcik.
In an interview with Voice of America, Bilcik said that nobody in Brussels is talking about freezing the EU accession process, but that there will be no progress in the accession negotiations if there is no progress in the rule of law, in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and in aligning the country’s foreign policy with that of the EU – especially regarding sanctions against Russia.
Bilcik repeatedly cautioned that foreign investments may be thrown into question due to Serbia’s current position.
The more Serbia does on reforms, democracy and alignment, the easier the discussions in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will be, and the more progress it makes in the dialogue, the easier it will be to open other areas in European integration, said Bilcik, adding that this is all one package that cannot be avoided.
Bilcik recently submitted a draft report on Serbia that is to be debated by the Committee on Foreign Affairs in February, and which the European Parliament is expected to adopt in May. Replying to a comment that the Serbian authorities say that, with its policy towards Russia, Serbia is actually protecting its national interests and that, as a sovereign country, it has the right to pursue its own policy, Bilcik said it was time Serbia made a choice.
“This is the message we have been sending since February 2022 and it will not change, Serbia must choose”, said Bilcik and added:
“Serbia is a sovereign country that I believe has a place in the EU, it has the capacity to meet the membership requirements, but some difficult political decisions need to be made”.
(021.rs, N1, 26.01.2023)
Photo credits: Filip Krainčanić
This post is also available in: Italiano