Serbia will have no economic benefit from signing the Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which could harm its path to EU membership, career diplomat Srecko Djukic said.
As previously announced, Serbia should sign the Free Trade Agreement with the EAEU on October 25, but many speculate that it could happen a few days earlier, during Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit during the World War II Belgrade liberation celebration, on October 20.
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Serbia, however, has had free trade agreements with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for years, and the agreement with the EAEU brings it almost nothing new from an economic standpoint, Srecko Djukic told N1.
The agreement allows Serbia to enter new markets, such as Kyrgyzstan or Armenia, but Djukic emphasized that these were underdeveloped and distant economies, modest GDP and low opportunities for trade growth.
Deepening the cooperation with the EAEU, on the other hand, could pose a problem in relations with the European Union, he warned.
“The first thing to expect is that the degree of alignment of Serbia’s foreign policy with the EU falls exactly after the signing of that agreement. Politically and strategically, that agreement brings a different direction. One could rightfully ask where is Serbia headed – towards the EU or EAEU,” Djukic said.
Commenting on the explanation of state authorities that all free trade agreements with third countries will cease to be valid when Serbia joins the EU, Djukic that the European integration was a process and that it was impossible to end all relations overnight, but that new relations with Russia and other countries should be terminated.
According to him, the thesis that Serbia could serve as a link between the EU and Moscow was applicable to a period that was a long time ago (during Yugoslavia). “Serbia, with its GDP of $ 50 billion, playing a mediating role between the two superpowers is an absolute utopia,” Djukic concluded.
This post is also available in: Italiano