Balcans: Vucic disappointed, interest in EU accession drops

'Serbia cannot join without resolving Kosovo issue'

01 September, 15:54

    (ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, 01 SET - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic didn't hide his disappointment over the European Union's low interest recently in enlargement to the Western Balkans, and he said that has caused a drop in attention and enthusiasm in countries of the region.

    "I want to be sincere and I hope you won't get upset. Enthusiasm for EU accession, not only in Serbia, isn't what it once was," Vucic said, speaking on Wednesday at the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia.

    He said that's why countries in the region are trying to find, on their own, tools and ways to increase growth and favour trade.

    He cited the initiative "Open Balkan" implemented by Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia to break down obstacles and useless barriers at the borders to speed up and facilitate commercial trade and the movement of people, goods and services.

    The initiative, which was initially called "little Schengen", is open to all the other countries of the Balkan region.

    Vucic said Serbia fully believes in European integration, but feels the EU has focused on its internal problems - Brexit, migrants, crises tied to the pandemic - neglecting enlargement prospects.

    "North Macedonia changed its name, and for this it had been promised the start of accession talks. Have those talks started? No," Vucic said, for whom observations and difficulties will probably be raised with regard to Serbia and Albania as well.

    At the same time, Vucic admitted that European integration for his country is strictly tied to the Kosovo question.

    "We will not be able to become part of the EU until we resolve the problem of relations with Pristina. This is clear to everyone," he said. (ANSAmed).

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