US Ambassador Anthony Godfrey said on Monday that a “malignant influence” was blocking Serbia on the road to the European Union.
He told the opening of a conference on Serbia, the Western Balkans and Western Integration that Serbia is a European country both geographically and historically and in terms of European values such as tolerance, freedom, the environment, rule of law and innovation. “The alternative to all that is the malignant influence that wants to block Serbia on the European path,” he said.
The ambassador said that “the many people in Serbian society who are not convinced that the European path is in its national interest are the constant challenge”. According to Godfrey, prosperity, freedom and peace in Serbia is crucial to the peace and stability of the region. He said that the United States wants Europe to live in peace and freedom and that means that the all the countries that share European Union values should be part of the EU because the alternative are constant division which make both Europe and the Balkans weaker, poorer and less stable, he said.
Godfrey said that the US interest is to see Serbia, as the political and economic leader in the region, to continue developing as a democratic European state at peace with its neighbors. He added that rule of law and the unresolved Kosovo issue are the main obstacles on the path to the EU. The ambassador said that a lot has to be done to consolidate rule of law, fight corruption, save the environment and provide fair and transparent business operations which he said Serbia can achieve.