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Borel: Serbia's national interests are harmed by its failure to join the EU sanctions against Russia

May 23, 2023

Belgrade [Serbia],May 23: Serbia's national interests, as a candidate for membership in the European Union, are being harmed by the fact that it has not harmonized its policy with sanctions and the EU's foreign and security policy, the head of European diplomacy, JosepBorrell, said today in Brussels.
Summarizing the conclusions of today's session of the Union's foreign ministers and their informal meeting with the ministers from the Western Balkans, Borel conveyed the position of the ministers of foreign affairs of the EU member states that the candidates for membership from the Western Balkans "must catch the momentum in the enlargement process, created by the favorable progress of Ukraine", which received candidate status.
Close ties with Russia and non-compliance with the sanctions imposed by the EU on Moscow are incompatible with the process that leads Serbia to EU membership, Borel added and conveyed the position of Union ministers that Russia is trying to "derail the European path of candidates from the Western Balkans".
Borel, the EU's high representative for foreign and security policy, announced that the ministers also addressed the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and made it clear that "quick implementation of the agreement between the two sides is the only way to normalize relations."
They also pointed out, according to his words, that "intensification and mutual provocations must stop" and that "negative behaviors and lack of constructiveness must be reversed".
"It was pointed out that for the candidates for EU membership who did not agree with the EU sanctions against Russia, and I will point out Serbia in particular, maintaining close ties with Russia does not coincide with their process of joining the European Union. It also damages their entire national interests, but it is certainly not compatible with the procedure leading to EU entry," said Borel.
He pointed out that the EU wants to speed up enlargement and that the ministers of the Union sent a "strong message" that the partners from the Western Balkans "must catch the momentum in the enlargement process, created by the favorable progress of Ukraine".
"Ukraine is progressing and they should follow that path and at the same speed. Now is the time to accelerate reforms, to harmonize with European norms and to prepare their societies for membership. It is a unique opportunity that must be used," he added.
Borel said that the ministers at today's meeting "specially referred" to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and presented that membership in the EU means cooperation "and joint action while overcoming all difficulties from the past".
Spanish Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno said that he informed the heads of diplomacy from the Western Balkans, as well as the ministers of foreign affairs of the Union and Borrell, of Madrid's intention to organize a meeting of the heads of diplomacy of the EU and the Western Balkans in October.
Croatian Minister GordanGrlićRadman said after the meeting that Croatia and some other EU members proposed that such informal meetings of EU-Western Balkans diplomats be held twice, not just once a year, because the relations between the two sides have become "particularly important" in light of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
At the meeting, the ministers of EU member states and Borel pointed out the importance of reforms and strengthening of democracy and dialogue in the region, GrlićRadman said.
Source: Beta News Agency