Viola von Cramon MEP told N1 that the Serbian authorities have to show more commitment for Europe adding that the majority of statements coming from Belgrade in recent months were pro-Russian, authoritarian, anti-democratic and anti-European Union.
The European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo said that she expects the Serbian authorities to be in the service of their citizens, not just their party, adding that elected officials should lead the reforms. Von Cramon is also shadow rapporteur for Serbia.
According to her, the state of democracy in Serbia has deteriorated. “The opposition, independent candidates and parties do not have equal conditions and it’s hard to compete with (President) Aleksandar Vucic’s party. There are no free and fair election campaign conditions not even on election day,” she said adding that a large number of irregularities were reported at the repeated elections in Sabac. She said that she would like to hear clearer stands on those irregularities from the Europeans. She said that there is a wide variety of political players in Serbia but that Vucic’s party is almost exclusively represented at national and local level. “That is not good for your country,” she said.
Von Cramon said that Serbia’s European integration process depends on both Serbia and the Europeans who have both stick and carrot and, according to her, should use them. The Serbian side should show more interest, more commitment in regard to Europe, she said and warned of authoritarian, anti-EU and anti-democratic statements from Belgrade in the recent past. “That is not good for future cooperation,” she said.
She said that Serbia has a future in the EU. Belgrade is a European city and you are Europeans and belong to Europe there is no doubt of that, she said but added that membership in the EU will depend on whether Serbia really does want to take part in integration and on the political players on the ground. That is up to Vucic and his people and perhaps up to others in the future, she said. The countries of the Western Balkans are all important, you are part of Europe and no one in the European Parliament doubts that, Von Cramen added.
Asked if Serbia can join the EU with or without Kosovo, Von Cramen said “only with Kosovo”. Kosovo belong to the EU just like Serbia, she said and expressed the hope that the EU mediated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will succeed in reaching an agreement satisfactory to both sides.