Serbia will have to terminate the Free Trade Agreement with Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) before it fully joins the European Union, Peter Stano, European Commission (EC) spokesperson has said on Friday.
„Before it enters the EU, Serbia must withdraw from all bilateral free trade agreements,“ Stano told Radio Free Europe (RFE).
He added it was not a new condition but a general rule applicable to all EU candidate countries.
Stano said that since Serbia recognised European integration as its strategic priority, „it means progressive adjustment to the bloc’s foreign and security policy.“
„We expect Serbia to behave in line with that obligation,” Stano added.
The Free Trade Agreement between Serbia and the EAEU refers to the duty-free import and export of goods from Serbia to Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
Section 30 of the Agreement provides that the Agreement may be terminated indefinitely, but that each party may terminate the Agreement by notifying the other party of his or her intention to withdraw from the Agreement. The contract officially expires seven months after the other party is notified.
Prior to signing the free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, Serbia had bilateral agreements with three of the five members of the alliance, with Russia since 2000, Belarus since 2009 and Kazakhstan since 2010.
Serbia has no free trade agreement with the remaining two members, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Serbia’s bilateral agreements with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will not automatically be valid tomorrow as the free trade agreement with the EAEU comes into force.
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