The European Parliament adopted rapporteur Vladimir Bilcik’s report on Serbia’s progress towards the European Union but expressed regret that Belgrade did not align with the EU sanctions policy on Russia, a press release said on Wednesday.
“Parliament welcomes the fact that EU membership continues to be Serbia’s strategic goal, while regretting the lack of progress and even backsliding on issues that are fundamental for EU accession,” the press release said adding that MEPs called for progress on rule of law, fundamental rights, freedom of expression, strengthening media pluralism and normalization of relations with Kosovo.
The press release said that the report was adopted with 523 votes in favor, 78 against and 34 abstentions.
The European Parliament report “strongly regrets that Serbia has not aligned with EU sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls on the newly elected authorities to urgently align with the EU’s decisions against Russia”. “Members express concern about the spread of disinformation and call on the Serbian authorities and the European Commission to fight disinformation, Russian propaganda and other hybrid threats in the Western Balkans,” the press release said.
📣 EU accession is Serbia’s strategic decision. We need to see it treated strategically by political leadership in Serbia. It is therefore important that Serbia moves towards the EU, not sideways.
— Vladimír Bilčík MEP (@VladoBilcik) July 6, 2022
It quoted European Parliament rapporteur Bilcik as saying that much more can be done for Serbia to move towards the EU. “After the April 2022 elections and Russia’s war of aggression, there is a real sense that our partners in Serbia must move forward decisively on their European path. Our report reflects factually on the complex political reality in Serbia and encourages all pro-European forces in the country to focus fully on progress in rule of law reforms, the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and alignment with EU international positions,”, Bilcik said.