EP to request suspension of EU accession negotiations with Serbia

Source: Alexa Stanković / AFP

The European Parliament (EP) will ask the European Union (EU) to suspend accession negotiation with Serbia until it imposes sanctions on Russia, reads the draft of the new EU enlargement strategy that Radio Free Europe (RFE) had access to, Fonet reported.

“Prioritize the alignment of accession countries with the EU’s common foreign and security policy and continue accession negotiations with Serbia only if the country aligns with EU sanctions against Russia,” reads the draft report.

The document will be discussed by MEPs on October 13 at the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, while the final version of the report will take the form of a European Parliament resolution which is expected in November.

EP resolutions are not legally binding for member countries or for other European institutions.

The Socialists and Democrats Group, the second largest political group in the EP, has already said that the EU cannot continue accession talks with Serbia if Belgrade fails to align with EU sanctions against Russia, and has announced its plans to incorporate this in the coming EP report on enlargement.

RFE noted that, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the EU has repeatedly asked Serbia to impose sanctions on Russia, in line with EU decisions.

EU candidate countries should progressively align their foreign policies with that of the EU, including the sanctions, say sources in Brussels.

Serbia is the only country in the region that has not introduced sanctions against Russia, while all other Western Balkans countries have aligned with EU’s policy.

Leader of the Serbian opposition Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP) Dragan Djilas said that a suspension of negotiations on Serbia’s EU membership over the signing of a plan on consultations with Russia would be a wrong move.
“We believe that this would not be an adequate measures, but that quite the opposite should be done,” Djilas told the N1 Studio Live show.
A plan on consultations for 2023-2024 was signed last week between Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.

According to the European Commission, the institution tasked with assessing a country’s readiness for integration, Serbia is ready to open cluster three as well, which is to happen in December this year.

However, diplomatic sources now say that there will be no progress in accession negotiations in 2022 precisely because of Serbia’s relationship with Russia.