Joseph Borrell, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said on Thursday that Serbia was expected to work in line with its strategic goal to join the bloc, but also to meet the commitments from the accession negotiations with the EU.
"The Commission is aware of the close ties between Serbia and the Russian Federation. Serbia is expected to act in line with its strategic objective of EU membership and the commitments arising from the accession process as well as the need for regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations, in particular the need to make progress in the EU-facilitated Belgrade- Pristina Dialogue," Borrel said, answering the questions "what steps will the Commission take to limit the harmful influence of third countries?" and "Does the Commission believe that Serbia belongs in the European Union?"
Borrell added that "in addition, Serbia needs to progressively align with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in the period up to accession. The issue is raised regularly with Serbia, in informal CFSP political dialogue meetings, and other meetings within the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Process."
"In line with the Sofia Summit Declaration and the Sofia Priority Agenda1, the EU is stepping up its collaboration with the Western Balkans in resilience, cybersecurity and strategic communication. The recent Joint Communication on tackling COVID-19 disinformation2 notes that Russia and China have engaged in targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighbourhood and globally., Borrel wrote in his answer.
He added, "the EU is funding programmes promoting critical thinking and media literacy in order to build resilience to disinformation."
"Moreover, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Commission services offer voluntary, on request, hybrid risk surveys to Western Balkans partners to identify their critical vulnerabilities and project-based assistance to address these gaps," Borrell said.