The European Commission (EC) carefully follows negotiations about a free trade agreement with Euro-Asian Union (EAU), led by Russia and expects Belgrade to adjust its foreign policy to that of the European Union, Maja Kocijancic, EU spokesperson told the Euractive.com website.
During a visit to Belgrade on Saturday, Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister, announced that next Friday, October 25, Moscow and Belgrade would sign a free trade agreement with the EAU consisting of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, securing Serbia access to a market of 180 million consumers.
But Kocijancic warned that “Serbia is expected to align with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy gradually.”
“We follow the situation closely and discuss these issues in our regular political and trade dialogues with the Serbian authorities,” she told Euractive.com.
The EU official said Serbia could enter into agreements with other countries or organisations before the country’s EU accession.
“In the context of its EU accession negotiations, Serbia committed to withdrawing from all bilateral free trade agreements on the day of its accession to the EU. Serbia’s withdrawal from trade deals with third parties is not a new condition, but a general rule is applying to all candidate countries wishing to join the EU,” Euractive.com quoted Kocijancic as saying.
She added that the EU was the most important trade partner to Serbia making up to 63 percent of the overall country‘s trade, while the European investments in Serbia were ten times bigger than those coming from Russia.