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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



ISAC: Serbia adjusted 53 percent of foreign policy to EU

July 29, 2021

The head of the research within the International and Security Affairs Centre - ISAC Fund Igor Novakovic, said on Thursday that, according to its latest report Serbia harmonised its foreign policy with the European Union by 53 percent in the first six months.

„We constantly insist, as well as EU officials, that percentages are not the best measure, but topics with which you agree in those EU declarations,“ Novakovic told the debate organised by the Belgrade FoNet news agency.

Serbia’s compliance with the EU’s foreign policy was at 90 percent in 2012 or 2013, but Novakovic said that then the number of declarations on Russia and China was minimal.

„Since the outbreak of the armed conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, we have numerous declarations concerning Russia. Their number is growing exponentially, and in those situations, Serbia is not harmonising, so the percentages are falling,“ Novakovic said.

However, in the first six months of this year, some progress can be seen, primarily related to Belarus.

Belgrade harmonised with several EU declarations, especially after the landing of Ryanair planes with a political opponent on board.

Novakovic said that Serbia accepted two or three declarations about Burma in that period, which it did not do before. Still, in the case of Venezuela, official Belgrade does not comply with the restrictive measures.

According to him, Serbia does not agree with certain declarations, primarily because of Kosovo. „Because we believe that could jeopardise the support of Russia, but also other countries in international institutions,“ Novakovic said.

„But, the EU member states wonder how Serbia will behave when it becomes an EU member one day,“ he added.

He recalls the decisions in the EU are made by consensus of all member states.

Novakovic said that Serbia’s declarative position was that EU membership was a strategic priority but added that in Belgrade foreign policy and Chapter 31 on the common foreign and security policy, the fundamental problem remained in the relations with Kosovo.

„The fight for sovereignty and territorial integrity, as our officials say, is, in fact, the same priority as EU membership,“ Novakovic said.

He added that „until today, as far as Chapter 31 is concerned, even though the screening process was completed in 2014, Serbia has not received a report, and that is the first step to open that chapter.“

Novakovic suggested Serbia should establish a certain level of predictability, make a roadmap for harmonising with EU foreign policy in the future, and be very careful when it comes to the rule of law, democracy and media freedom issues.

„A good part of the EU declarations concern those issues, and it is obvious that they are reflected, not only in Chapters 23 and 24, which are crucial for us but also in foreign policy,“ Novakovic said.

The EU has insisted on Serbia’s adjustment to the bloc’s foreign and security policy, while Belgarde says that condition for the full membership comes at the end of the accession negotiations.

He adds the issues of the rule of law, democratic values, and freedom of the media will become the focal point of the entire process of European integration.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/isac-serbia-adjusted-53-percent-of-foreign-policy-to-eu/

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